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Protesters call for tighter budget

Around 50 protesters stood around the courthouse square Tuesday night before the Pike County commission meeting, holding signs with messages like “Listen to us or leave”, “Wanted: Responsible Government”, and “Use Taxes Wisely.” ”I think we need to increase the trust between citizens and commissioners. They don’t just need to meet the letter of the Sunshine Law, but the spirit of it,” said protester Teresa Crow. “They don’t need to add items to the agenda at the last minute.” In the meeting, commissioners voted to postpone the appointment of Teresa Watson as interim county manager until the March 10 meeting. County attorney Rob Morton said an interim county manager must be appointed within four weeks of a vacancy – before March 12. Don Collins was opposed to the postponement of appointing Watson. Commissioners then discussed appointing former Spalding county manager William P. Wilson Jr. as budget consultant for fiscal year 2011 and the consideration died for lack of a motion. Commissioner Parrish Swift added consideration of different budget consultants to the agenda. Commissioners later approved his motion to appoint Merritt Spier and Tommy Burnsed as budget consultants for the upcoming budget year and citizens applauded after the vote. ”If I am involved in the budgeting process, there will be no charge for me. I volunteer my time,” said Spier. “When budgeting it’s important to factor in what it takes to operate the department by checking each line item. We have to justify the expenses that are requested in the county.” Read details on the protest and meeting in the March 3 edition of the Pike County Journal-Reporter.

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