A chance to still be heard

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It is said those without a vote are without a voice.

Last month it appeared that our local legislative delegation was in favor of pushing forward a bill that would allow Shelby County residents a chance to vote &8220;yes&8221; or &8220;no&8221; on a plan to fund solutions to our crowded roads and dangerous intersections.

The idea was that if enough people were in favor of funding such a plan, it would then be put on a ballot for a later direct vote by the public.

However, State Sen. Jabo Wagner&8217;s bill, which would have given the public the right to vote on such a plan was killed in committee.

Although our elected leaders have temporarily wiped their hands clean of association with a proposed tax increase to improve road conditions, they have not completely eliminated the chance for Shelby County to speak out and vote on the matter. Only this time, it will be less direct.

State. Sen. Hank Erwin says he and the county&8217;s legislative delegation are in support of a new compromise set forth by Rep. Jim McClendon that calls for a non-binding referendum on the ballot during the February elections. If county leaders set the referendum and voters call for funding, Erwin says the delegation will hold up to their end of the McCelndon Compromise and draft legislation for the next session.

So, as it stands today, we have a chance to vote to give the Legislature the &8220;non-binding&8221; nod to pass legislation that will fund a solution to the road problems.

We&8217;ve had our chance through petition and public hearings and failed to take it.

Thanks to the compromise, Shelby Countians still have the opportunity to let our voices be heard. We cannot let it pass.