Opinion: Focusing on domestic issues

Published 2:34 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM |Staff Writer

I attended my very first city council meeting on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 on my second day working for the Shelby County Reporter. I had never been involved in anything government-related before, so it was my first time being exposed to the process. The mayor introduced himself to me, and I watched as he and the other council members broke down the agenda before the official meeting began.

Since then, I’ve learned more and more in the past 15 months about the intricacies of local government and the impact it has on the county in which I live. I’ve learned about how important local government actually is—especially in comparison to the big presidential elections that everyone seems to be so concerned about.

During my first Chelsea City Council meeting, the council approved new locker rooms for the high school and members of the football team and their coaches were there to show their support and appreciation. At first glance, the project seems insignificant but will have a lasting impact as generations of students at Chelsea High School make use of these resources.

During an Alabaster City Council meeting in February,  I watched the council approve a tax increase from nine cents to 10 cents to help support future capital projects. Many citizens expressed their disapproval for the tax increase at the meeting, citing inflation as a major issue, while others were happy to support the project, desiring better infrastructure and parks.

For those who hate taxes, the federal government aren’t the only ones that can increase the burdens of taxation on us. If you don’t want these increases, then vote for the council representatives that support your position.

For those who want better infrastructure and amenities, the federal government can only do so much—why not show support for representatives in municipalities and the county government who can solve the issue and bring you bridge widenings, road repairs and projects like Patriots Park?

A group of residents in Ward 1 recently demonstrated their understanding of the power of local government during a recent Alabaster City Council meeting on Nov. 27.

The city was going to vote on an ordinance to set ward boundaries and, after hearing feedback from their citizens, decided to table the vote in order to discuss the issue further.

If these local residents hadn’t spoke up on behalf of their ward, it’s very much possible that this ordinance would have passed without issue.

I’ve sat through many public hearings during my time attending council meetings. Do you know how rare it is to hear someone speak up for or against a resolution? How many resolutions do you think pass without anyone ever noticing?

I’m not intending to attack any municipality or city council in saying this—I simply want people to focus on issues here at home that they can have a direct impact on as we head into 2024. Local government matters and your feedback is necessary to help Shelby County to continue to thrive and grow.