Guest Opinion by Terry R. Young
Terry R. Young is a New Albany builder and developer.
The thoughts expressed here are his own and we do not necessarily endorse them. However, we do encourage all citizens to be informed about their government’s actions and to participate in every way possible.
It is the right of any individual living in our great nation to be entitled to his or her opinion. Those opinions come in many forms. Some are positive, some are negative, but regardless of their nature we are all entitled to have them. Something instilled in me at a young age was that while it was good to have an opinion, it is even better to have an opinion of the informed variety. I was taught that taking time out of one’s busy life to become informed about the details of the things that you are passionate about is the best way to do your part in contributing to the improvement of those very things you care so strongly about. One thing that I am very passionate about is the city I have called home for the last 25 years of my life, The City of New Albany.
It is this passion for my hometown that has made me become involved in following the politics of our great city as closely as I possibly can. I made the decision to set time out of my schedule every month to attend our city’s board of alderman meetings a little over seven years ago, and since then I have been able to attend 83 of the last 86 board meetings. I made the decision to become involved in local politics because of rumors that I had heard of the gross misconduct and crookedness of our local politicians. What I am proud to say is that I have found out over the last seven years is that our city government functions in stark contrast to the rumors that filled my ears from all directions. The leadership we have elected sets out each month to do the work of the people and proactively promote and grow our city into a wonderful place to visit, work, and most importantly, live.
Contrary to opinions that have been expressed by individuals in the last few weeks, our city has grown and prospered greatly over the last 12 years. It is my opinion that the last 12 years of leadership has accomplished more than the previous 30 years combined. A long list of accomplishments can be attributed the hard work and leadership that our mayor and board of alderman have put forth in order to promote and grow our city.
The best way to grow a city is to cultivate the quality of life for its citizens. This makes the city a desirable place to raise a family, and in the process of living and raising a family here, our citizens, both new and old, contribute to the financial growth of our city. Quality of life attracts people. People spending their hard earned money create growth. Growth creates tax dollars, and tax dollars act as the greatest tool for improving infrastructure, schools, recreational facilities, and community events that make our city the great city that it is. Our city government has focused on quality of life issues as well as growth in the production and retail arenas, which has created an atmosphere of growth, prosperity, and optimism that extends beyond the borders of our city. New Albany has garnered local, statewide, and even national attention for the strides we have made as a community.
These steps in the right direction are a direct result of a forward thinking, progressive city government as well as a small group of passionate citizens that have spent years working towards a better city for both tomorrow and for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now and beyond. The desire that I have as a citizen of New Albany is that this small group of concerned citizens follows in the footsteps of our city leaders and continues to push forward with efforts to promote our city. The best way for these concerned citizens to be successful is to grow their ranks. More citizens that are passionate about our city are needed. Month after month, I attend meetings and sit in my usual place in the audience. The irony of that statement is that nine out of ten times, there is no audience. City employees, newspaper employees, and elected officials make up the roll of attendees.
If our city has a problem, it isn’t with the leadership; it’s with the constituency. Our citizens need to be more involved in the day-to-day, the month-to-month, and the year-to-year activities of our city government. This involvement will bring about positive change for not only our city, but individual citizens as well. Taking time to get involved and get informed is the best way as a citizen to make a difference, far better than relying on opinions that are formed from the uninformed opinions of others.
Our city has its general elections May 2 of this year. The lack of interest from the public has shown up in the lack of participation in that election. Many offices are left uncontested, and many of the candidates that have qualified failed to even show up to the February meeting. It is this citizens’ wish that the public would get involved, get informed, and get behind our city leadership so that they can continue to make positive changes to our city and for our future. If you disagree with our city leaders, show up and let them know. Likewise, if you agree with them, show up and let them know. They will listen, they will engage you and listen to your opinions, and they will do what they have consistently done for the past 12 years, a really good job. I would like to personally thank Mayor Kent, Mr. Anderson, Mr. White, Mr. Dunnam, Mr. Olsen, and Mr. Tucker for serving and wish them all good luck in the upcoming election. I would also like to wish all the candidates opposing them good luck as well. Whoever is elected to represent our great city in this year’s election, I can only hope they do as good of a job that has been done for the last seven years.
Terry R. Younggovernment, New Albany MS, opinion