The last of the “gang of four,” Commissioner Skip Riffe, is due to take the test. He will claim credit for the recent turnaround in Scioto County, while not taking responsibility for his mistakes. An argument can be made that the improving economic and cultural prospects are happening in spite of his lack of vision or leadership. The upcoming election for the Scioto County commissioner's seat should be about ideas instead of the usual political gruel that is dished out. A debate will be necessary to present real ideas and to find out just where the candidates stand on the issues.
Scioto County needs countywide zoning and a minimum building code to bring it into the 21st century. The community is being developed in a manner that would be more suitable in a Third World country. The 1.5 percent piggyback sales tax that Riffe is proud of undermines the development of a strong retail business base and it disproportionately affects the poor. The county government should be more open. Citizens cannot understand what is on the agenda when the room that the commissioners operate out of can only seat a few people. Scioto County deserves sunshine on the governing process and it is not possible from the spider hole that the commissioners work out of.
According to the auditor's office, there are approximately 720 county employees at a cost of nearly $22 million in 2005, plus (13.7 percent to 16.9 percent) pension benefits. Riffe now wants an additional $600,000 annual payroll to run the new jail. Instead of building a smaller jail to handle our local needs he plans to make money by renting bed space to other entities. This is reminiscent of the earlier boondoggle with Shelton Industries. Now, Riffe and Commissioner Reiser want to buy out up to 10 percent of the positions in the prosecutor's office at a cost of either one fifth of their respective service record or two year's pay. It is hard to understand why this is necessary, and the question must be asked: Will the same employees show up in another county department? Anyone that has paid property taxes recently knows the true cost of an inefficient county government.
Riffe has been in office for nearly 16 years; it is time to produce or give someone else an opportunity to lead.
Voters should support Senior Center renewal levy
I want to urge everyone to vote on May 2 for the Senior Center renewal levy. The Senior Center is a wonderful program for Scioto County seniors. It gives seniors a choice of staying in their own homes with the help of transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping and errands that need to be taken care of.
The Senior Center also supplies other needs like home care, van transport, car transport and the adult daily living for elderly citizens in our area. The staff of all these departments are very caring individuals, and families can be assured that their loved ones are well taken care of.
Please keep this wonderful organization available to the senior citizens of Scioto County, and remember, this is a renewal and will not increase your taxes. Please vote yes on the senior levy renewal.