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Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: June 20, 2018 Cindy McLoud

By Cindy McLoud

June 20, 2018
Dear Editor,

I believe that one of my duties as a commissioner is to share information with the people of Kiowa County whenever I think they might find it useful. So, I’m writing to this publication in hopes that you will allow me to clear up a little confusion about how special districts work and what state mandates involve. 
First, special districts.  In Kiowa County, we have two countywide special districts (the hospital district and the fire district) and two school districts (Eads and Plainview). By state law, special districts operate separately and independently and get funding directly from the voters through the mill levy that voters approve (or not) at the ballot box.  That mill levy is then included in the property owner’s total tax bill, which they pay to the county.  It’s understandable that some people get confused by thinking that because, for example, the hospital receives some of its funding from property taxes, that the county “is giving” money to the hospital.  But that isn’t how it works.  When the voters pass a mill levy for a special district, that means the money is for that special district alone.  The county does nothing more than collect the tax and then pass it on to the district. In other words, funding to special districts has nothing whatsoever to do with the county budget, and it shouldn’t.  Special districts are separate entities; it is up to the board for that district to decide when and how their funding should be spent. 

It should be remembered that we are a large county with a small population, which makes it very important for all agencies (town and county governments, special districts and non-profits) to work together for the benefit of everybody.  It’s the community spirit that makes Kiowa County strong.

I am also aware that some people are frustrated by state rules and regulations; believe me, I hear this from people all the time, and I completely agree.  We would all prefer to govern ourselves “at home” and according to those priorities that suit our way of life.  The current Board of Commissioners is very judicious in dealing with the state, but we cannot simply choose to ignore them.

A perfect example is the landfill. For more than four years, the county has been in negotiations with the state about what we can reasonably do to meet their guidelines for operation and, at the same time, maintain a landfill that will not cost us enormous amounts of money to keep open to the public.  We can’t simply ignore them; the state has the legal authority to charge the county $10,000 each day that we are out of compliance with state regulations.  So, what we have done is negotiate with them and find common ground where their regulations are met and we still continue operation.  As a result of this complicated, ongoing discussions we have kept costs down while offering a quality, much needed service to our residents. 

I know that politics has become a dirty word these days, and I understand why.  It’s a complicated, sometimes frustrating business that can look one way “on the outside” but a totally different way once the details are known. 

That’s why I’m always happy when people either call or come by the courthouse, specifically so that I can answer questions and address concerns.  And, as many people have learned, if I’m not there, it’s usually because I’m either gone on county business or out and about learning from the people who live here what’s going on and how I can help. 

I hope this clears up any questions or confusion about special districts and state mandates.  But if there are any questions I haven’t answered, you know where to find me.

I would just like to close with this thought.  There have been some very good things that have been accomplished over the past four years, and there are some very good things on the horizon. If we all continue to stay involved, to work together and remember that we all want the same thing—which is a strong county, not just for now but in the future—we can meet all of our goals and more.

And remember—VOTE on June 26th!

Cindy McLoud
Kiowa County Commissioner, District 2

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