Thank you for your public service

It’s not easy serving the public.

This was made clear on April 6, when Bob Keel resigned his position from the Saratoga Town Council. Keel, in his resignation letter, stated that he was choosing his family over the council. The Saratoga Sun applauds him for making such a difficult decision and wishes him well in his new venture.

There may be many in the community who are disappointed that Keel did not finish out his four year term.

A look into Saratoga’s past, however, shows that it is not at all uncommon for people to take their leave at some point through their term. After all, when one puts their name on a ballot they have no idea what the next four years will hold.

Being a representative of the people can be a difficult task, especially if one is truly hoping to represent the people. While it probably would be nice if the electorate often spoke in a single voice, a look at any election—from municipal to national—shows that isn’t the case. 

The people don’t have a single voice, but several.

Trying to keep the needs and wants of so many in mind when making decisions can be difficult. Even more so if, when looking towards growth and sustainability, the decisions that are made aren’t always popular. At the end of the day, however, it’s not like anybody who is serving on a town council is getting rich from the monthly or per meeting stipend. 

By the time you are reading this, it is likely that the Saratoga Town Council will have received letters of interest for the vacant seat and will have filled it. That means that the council now has two members who were elected and two who were appointed.

Mayor Creed James, while appointed mayor, did receive a significant number of votes while running for council so one could argue that the public had him in mind for the position.

Just because there are two council members who were appointed, however, does not mean they are any less accountable to those they represent. They were appointed, after all, by people elected to represent the community. Should those appointed individuals decide to run in the next election, they will have to stand behind whatever decisions they made.

For now, less than a year remains until the election cycle begins to pick back up. In that time, some difficult decisions are on the horizon. An almost entirely new council, along with a new town clerk and new legal counsel, will need to work with new auditors. Financial questions raised in the past year still need to be answered, even if the answers aren’t what Saratoga’s governing body were hoping for. 

As Saratoga continues to grow, so too will the demands on the council and their responses to countless issues. And while those five may be elected, there are many others who are not. 

A nearly new planning commission joins the council, all of them volunteering their time to aid in long-term growth of Saratoga. They, too, have difficult decisions to make as they attempt to look 10, 20 and 30 years into the future. Those attending meetings of the planning commission will likely hear plenty of discussion around the issue of spot zoning.

Similarly, the Saratoga-Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board has long-term planning to consider as well. This board, arguably, has the most experience as several of the members have served multiple terms and have been involved in past water and sewer projects in one way or another. Despite this experience, however, there are still issues that arise from time to time that elicit a fair amount of discussion.

We really think that Brian Drake, owner of Triple D Construction, put it best when he was addressing the planning commission on April 13.

“I just want to thank all you guys for taking your time and volunteer being on the planning commission because it’s a tough cookie. It’s a thankless job.”

It really is a thankless job, whether elected or unelected.

So, thank you.


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