It has been a year (Feb. 18, 2015) since the widely publicized and historic public hearing was held fundamentally addressing the issue of frac sand mining in Houston County. It has been said that it may have been the largest turnout for any public hearing in the history of the county. For nearly three hours, the board of commissioners heard testimony from person after person who called for a ban on industrial frac sand mining. People from all walks of life, including a Catholic nun, voiced their opinion. When it was all said and done, it was no secret that more than 90 percent of the people who spoke were in favor of a ban on industrial frac sand mining in Houston County.
On March 3, 2015, the commissioners got their chance to vote on an ordinance that would essentially prevent industrial frac sand mining in Houston County. Commissioners Steve Schuldt, Judy Storlie and Teresa Walter voted no. Commissioner Dana Kjome and I voted yes.
In a recent editorial in the Caledonia Argus entitled: “It’s beyond time for us to be represented by someone who governs fairly and doesn’t bend the rules for their own agendas,” general manager Dan McGonigle recalls the previously mentioned public hearing and the decision that was made saying, “As 92 percent of you came before them regarding your opposition to the frac sand mining, they listened to the outcry, but then did an about face and came down on the side of their own interest and refused to ban frac sand mining in the county.”
On Dec. 29, 2015, Commissioners Schuldt, Storlie and Walter voted to approve a budget that would increase the tax levy again in 2016 and use money from the fund balance “county savings account” to cover more than $600,000 worth of deficit spending. Coupled with the past two years, this totals approximately $2 million in overspending in a three-year period (2014-16). Commissioner Kjome and myself cast no votes to the budget.