the Times 

City mayoral candidate has concerns


March 26, 2020

Waitsburg is a community we all can be proud of. Neighbors standing shoulder to shoulder shoveling mud from each others homes. Salvaging what could be salvaged. We are Truly “One Of a Kind.”

But there were events happened during our recent disaster that have me concerned. Events that should have every resident of Waitsburg concerned. Our leadership failed us in this disaster. Plain and simple. Especially the east side of town. The east side did not have a warning even though we have a flood siren and emergency protocol in place, or so I thought we did until the night of February 6 – 7.

The community meeting held before the February council meeting was nothing more than 40 minutes of listening how we were ignored on the east end. When asked why the siren was not implemented the city manager said “I didn’t implement it because I didn’t want to disturb the rest of town.”

What I heard during the community meeting was a lot of failures:

•The siren wasn’t implemented because it might disturb the part of town that WASN’T flooding.

•I heard public works talk about how the dike behind Laht Neper was failing a 6 p.m. on February 6th and that it had failed at the packing shed at Huntsville at 8 p.m. on the 6th.

•I heard public works say they couldn’t reach the mayor because “he forgot to the turn his phone on” in a disaster.

•When asked how to find the emergency plan on the city website our emergency committee said it was too hard to locate. With no search feature on the city website no way to access it easily. An emergency plan that does not include using local resources like Fire District #2.

•I heard our city manager state he has barely been able to pay the bills for two years. The pool will have to close.

Waitsburg is NOT financially healthy, hasn’t been for years. When on council I tried for years to get the finance committee changed, which the Secretary of State says should change EVERY year, to no avail. We have only had one change in the finance committee since Walt Gobel became mayor, that is when he resigned.

All but one person on council stated they had been on council many, many years and maybe it was time for a change. Some stated they had been on council 7, 10 even 17 years. It is time for a change. A council that will represent all of Waitsburg, not just the ones that deserve to “NOT BE DISTURBED” during a disaster.

Even if you don’t live on the east side you should be concerned. The next disaster may be on your end of town. Our elected officials failed us, our emergency committee, Kate Hockersmith and Jim Romine, failed us, the very system that was suppose to warn us was not implemented.

It's time to move to a city and council that are more healthy in every way. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!

Debra Callahan


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