Calm consideration sorely needed

Published 9:12 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

There are strong winds blowing once again in Hertford County, but this time they are not from Hurricane Irene.

The continuing saga between the Town of Winton and Hertford County government over parking and setback issues related to the proposed new courthouse has unleashed a storm of festering resentments and intemperate words. For some, the vitriolic language makes it seem like a personal grudge match of wills – little boys kicking sand at one another until at last somebody blinks. It is an unfortunate situation, at best.

If grown men want to get their feelings hurt and act out on their own time that is their personal mess. However, when the business is that of the taxpayers of Hertford County and the Town of Winton and the men are elected representatives or their agents, it becomes everyone’s affair. That is not the way the people’s business should be conducted. It is unacceptable.

The brouhaha boils down to whether Town of Winton officials and Hertford County leaders can find compromise that will allow Winton to maintain its standards of safety and Hertford County reach its need for more parking at county facilities there. If they don’t, the mayors and councils of both Murfreesboro and Ahoskie are waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in with attractive offers to relocate the county courthouse to their friendly confines. Such a dramatic move would represent a sea change in the direction of not only governmental business, but also other connected factors that could help drive up the economies of Ahoskie or Murfreesboro for decades.

We encourage the leaders of Hertford County and Winton to take a step back and calmly consider the short- and long-term implications of the decisions before them.

What will be best for Winton? What will be best for all the citizens of Hertford County? What can we afford to do? What can we not afford not to do? How can the problem be transformed to an opportunity that if properly seized will pay dividends for Hertford County tomorrow and down the road?

Our elected officials must study, decide and act with wisdom and courage. That is what Herford County’s taxpayers elected them to do.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald