I first want to say "Thank You" to each and every one of you who supported me and had confidence that I would do a good job as your County Commissioner. I hope my performance has met -- if not exceeded -- your expectations.
During this first year I learned a lot about many of the problems within our county government. There were two primary areas that stood out to me:
We have been severely underfunding employee pay for many years. Seeing how county tax dollars have been squandered on recruiting and training only to lose high-performing employees to other agencies was disturbing. The saying "penny wise and pound foolish" has never been more appropriate. The good news is that we're fixing these issues and getting competent, former employees applying for their old jobs. This is happening in the Sheriff's Office Patrol (Click Here) and 911 (Click Here) divisions as well as our Prosecuting Attorney's Office, where the county is now getting former employees and qualified applicants for these positions.
We have a justice center expansion project that we have no idea where the final numbers will land. However from our recently hired Buyer's Representative it looks like it will be somewhere between $42 to $45 million (Click Here).
As your County Commissioner I will continue to keep you informed on these issues and future ones in coming months.
Why I Hope We All Have a Happy New Year in 2024 And Beyond
Many of you know the state of our national politics is in turmoil. This country seems more divided than at any point in our lifetimes. And it feels like our national leaders are condoning (through their silence) the events that are unfolding before our eyes. It's troubling.
We are watching democrats in other states attempt to deny Americans from choosing our next President. My fear is that half the country will not accept the election results no matter who wins. How will this affect our local community?
The world is de-dollarizing, which is going to create immense pressure on our currency and increase the likelihood for more inflation. The non-western countries are developing trade that is by-passing the U.S. Dollar. What will this mean for our local economy?
We have a federal government that is allowing millions upon millions of people from places like Africa, China and the Middle East to enter our country illegally. Who's paying for these cross-ocean trips for these people, and are they friend or foe? We are already seeing the effects of this migration here in Kootenai County and it concerns me (and other elected officials I speak with) about how it will affect county government infrastructure and finances. You may be surprised to discover that our ATF is now allowing non-citizen immigrants the ability to purchase firearms (Click Here). Why is this happening? And who is vetting these people who cross the border, and how can we ever be sure these people don't have a criminal background? I can assure you it is an issue that weighs on me.
There is no doubt this country is heading into serious times. And our country and community need serious people to rise to the occasion.
I pray that myself, our elected leaders and those in the community have the wisdom, temperament and prudence to keep this community safe and secure into 2024 and beyond.
Happy New Year!