Light at the end of the dam

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2005

After covering local government for the past few months and becoming somewhat knowledgeable about certain issues these governing bodies are facing, sometimes I feel like I am part of the actual process.

Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration. I take my job of only reporting the facts and remaining impartial very serious, but when a specific issue appears on a governing body’s agenda meeting after meeting, it’s hard not to wish for a resolution.

It’s easy to take shots at politicians and criticize them for all of their failures. Making fun of politicians has provided great material for countless numbers of newspaper columns and often politicians deserve the literary abuse.

However, politicians, especially on the local level, also deserve credit for their positive contributions to their respective communities. Many of these people take time out their professional and personal lives to serve their community with very little, if any, compensation.

A big head-ache for the Murfreesboro Town Council since I started covering their meetings in June has been the Holly Hill Road dam. This saga is not over, but light at the end of this tunnel is finally visible.

I cannot speak for what occurred in regards to the project before June, but since I started covering Murfreesboro Town Council meetings, the town administrator and the council have been doing everything within their power to resolve this situation.

From my perspective, the delays that have occurred were due to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and to a lesser degree, the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management. Whether these large government agencies were dragging their feet, suffer from widespread incompetence or were simply doing their job I cannot say.

I spent over two years working in Washington, DC performing government affairs work for two trade associations and I can tell you some horror stories about trying to work with federal agencies. Attempting to obtain a simple yes or no answer to a question might take a week and 25 phone calls, so I know how bureaucracy works, or should I say doesn’t work.

I feel like I know so much about the dam that I could go over there and rebuild it myself and I’m sure some of the members of the council feel the same way.

Construction projects, regardless of the size or scope, seem to always take longer than anyone anticipated and end up costing more then the original estimates. In the case of the Holly Hill Road dam, the bid to repair the dam actually came in $100,000 less than the original estimate.

Like the town council and the Murfreesboro citizens living near the dam, I will be happy when the dam is repaired and I never have to write about it again.

More importantly, once the project is finished the town council can focus on other important issues.