If you’ve followed local news lately, you know that government officials in both Richmond Hill and Bryan County have been asked to hold a public hearing on a planned building project in their respective jurisdictions.
In the case of the Richmond Hill city council, the project in question is the approximately $5 million SPLOST-funded convention center. Local businessman Gene Brogdon asked for a new public hearing on the center, which is slated to be constructed in the back of J.F. Gregory Park on land the city owns.
In Bryan County’s case, it’s the county’s planned administrative complex off Spur 144. Sheila Galbreath, long a critic of the county commission in general and commissioner Toby Roberts in particular, asked for a public hearing on the proposed location at the commissioners last meeting.
Now, please note this is not an argument for or against either project. Instead, we simply want to note that neither Galbreath nor Brogdon met with success in their effort to gain a public hearing.
In Brogdon’s case, it was said there have already been enough public hearings on the building - and never mind that original plans called for a conference and aquatics center at a different location altogether. Instead, it's the contention of Richmond Hill officials that there have already been ample public hearings on the new location and no one outside Brogdon has kicked up a fuss about the issue.
That may be, despite recent polls on our website that show strong support for public hearings in both cases.
Of course, voting on a website isn't the same as attending a council or commission meeting. In that regard, there seems little opposition to either project. And it seems this county facility isn't the first to be built without a public hearing. Perhaps that's due more to an apathetic public than anything else – though we urge our elected officials to bend over backwards to invite public comment.
Of course, we remind residents who feel they’re being shut out of the political process that they do have recourse. It’s called the ballot box.
Bryan County News
Feb. 13, 2007