Local involvement is lagging

It’s pretty pathetic that there is so little interest in meeting with Warren County Commissioners that a town hall meeting draws only township supervisors playing host to the meeting.

There is no better sign of the disconnect between county residents and their government than the fact not one member of the public felt it was worthy their while to attend last week’s town hall meeting. As it turns out, the commissioners are tackling some important issues — creating a land bank for Warren County, development at Kinzua Beach or Jake’s Rocks, working with a glass recycler to improve glass recycling in the county and figuring out how best to spend American Rescue Plan funding.

We’re not saying hot dogs will draw people to a town hall meeting a la Warren’s Community Development Block Grant public hearing, but it does seem the public is having trouble connecting with the county commissioners. And it is incumbent on the commissioners to figure out how to make that connection.

One way to do so is by setting a broader vision for the county and frankly doing a better job showing people the impact of the commissioners’ collective work. The county can take a much more active role in settling the county’s EMS shortage or by more actively pushing other transformative programs like the PA Wilds stipend program being proposed to lure remote workers to locales like Warren County. And, while we talk a lot about broadband, there are times that the discussions on such a pivotal issue aren’t gaining traction with the public because we are struggling to reach them.

Citizens don’t have much need to interact with the county commissioners on a day-to-day basis. And county government has chosen wisely to remain as non-invasive as possible in people’s lives.

But if we are to drastically improve our collective lot, these town hall meetings must become much more energetic and productive.


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