Letter to the editor: County council hands out easy money

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To the editor:

On May 12, the county council voted 6-0 to give $195,000 to the Hancock County 4-H Agricultural Association, a private group. Evidently, tax money comes easy for our county council.

Councilman Kent Fisk stated in the meeting that the money was needed to make whole the association due to losses in 2020 that resulted from the pandemic. It was Kent Fisk, himself, who initiated the request for funds before the commissioners two weeks prior. Why not a member of the ag association?

Not only did Mr. Fisk initiate the request, he also voted its approval as a sitting councilman. This appears too cozy. But there is more.

To their credit, the council requested proof from the ag association of their losses in 2020. I’ve seen the documents, and they do nothing to establish a loss of $195,000. They do show that deposits from 2019 to 2020 were reduced by that amount. That’s only half the story. What of expenses? What of cash on hand? Nothing.

Moreover, the ag association documents cover only January to October, and not a full year. This is poor stewardship of tax dollars. Embarrassing. Unprofessional.

I enjoy the county fair. I think the 4-H program is a vital part of our community. For many years the county government has supported the ag association with tax dollars. I think it’s a good thing. That is all beside the point.

The point is that our county council has given $195,000 of public funds to a private group without adequately accounting for the need. Rather, it appears to be pure favoritism, the pet project of a councilman.

In the May 12 meeting, I asked the council if other nonprofit groups could ask to be made whole? The answer was yes.

Attention all nonprofits: The county council is now open for business. I strongly urge other nonprofits to ask the generous county council to make them whole.

Randy Harrison