Step up, give input

September 3, 2013

The call has gone out for in put into local government and we hope citizens will respond in a positive manner, taking the opportunity afforded to them to help shape the future of Sampson County.

While many often argue that they have no say in what goes on within local government, using that as an excuse, many times, not to even cast a ballot in all-important elections, this go-round they are being urged to participate.

County manager Ed Causey, interim city manager Shawn Purvis and planning director Mayor Rose all urged public participation in any number of government decisions, saying it was a vital instrument in shaping the county and the city of Clinton’s future.

With the county under some financial stress due to a struggling economy, commissioners are holding special monthly meetings to discuss modification of programs, and Causey stressed the significance of having the public’s thoughts on level of services and priority of those services.

In the city, long-range planning is under way, something Rose and Purvis want public input on as they move forward.

All are vital parts of citizens’ lives, whether they see it that way or not. From recreation to garbage collection, water to facilities and everything in between, government services now and in the future have an impact on our day-to-day lives, and leaders are offering us all an opportunity to have our say.

We should provide it, or, if we aren’t going to do so, we should withhold critical reaction to the decisions being made.

While it’s far easier to be a couch critical than an active participant, getting involved is the way to make a difference.

It’s made simpler by the fact that government officials are actually urging the participation on several levels and ensuring that opinions given will be heard and taken into consideration.

“Partnerships, community involvement and citizen input are what it’s all about,” said Rose at a Chamber forum held last week.

“Trust me folks, you can have an impact…The people who do not think they have an opportunity to participate in government, I can assure you that our commissioners will listen to their constituents, and if you have views … I encourage you to call your commissioners or county staff,” Causey stressed at that same forum.

The invitation has been sent. It’s up to us to accept and provide the sought after input.

Too many times, though, the extended invitation isn’t accepted.

But we believe the issues at hand are critical to this county’s, and this city’s, future. Standing in the shadows and allowing others to provide the input is not the answer. Offering your opinion is.

Sampson residents are always good about rising to the challenges that others face, reaching out to lend a helping hand.

This time around the challenges are ones we all face, collectively, and the sought-after input is needed to make the best decisions possible for the future of our communities.

Got to the county planning sessions, write letters to the editor, call your commissioners, agree to be a part of a city or county committee. Do your part and let your voice be heard.

It’s important.