Letter From A Voter To The Houston County CommissionRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Feb 21 2021 9:42 PM
LETTER TO THE EDITOR ADDRESSED TO THE
HOUSTON COUNTY COMMISSION FROM A VOTER
Chairman Culver and commissioners Harvey, Sinquefield, Herring, and Shoupe;
This communication is in reference to the vote that will take place on Monday February 22, 2021 for the purchase of the old Five Star Credit Union building located on North Foster Street in Dothan, Alabama.
On Thursday February 18, 2021 the Houston County Commission voted on a “Request to approve resolution authorizing purchase, sale, and lease of real property”, this includes the purchase of the old Five Star Credit Union building. The Houston County Commission is elected by the people of Houston County to carry out the business transactions of the people of Houston County in the benefit of the people; for almost a year now the people have not been allowed to physically attend a Houston County Commission Meeting. The people not being allowed to physically attend public meetings to publicly express their concerns, and be heard in the discussion part of the meeting has placed a undue burden and limitation on the peoples rights set out in the Alabama Constitution Article 1 sections 1 – 35, the Governor Kay Ivey also stated in her Proclamation on March 20, 2020 that “ Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter, amend, or modify any other provision of the Open Meetings Act, including the notice requirements found in § 36-25A-3 and the enforcement, penalty, and remedy provisions found in § 36-25A-9”. I am aware that the Houston County Commission meetings have been available via zoom that is only a one way communication as the people are not allowed to speak during these zoom meetings; this is still an unacceptable form of open communications that is conflicting with the Open Meetings Act § 36-25A-1 (a) “Serial meetings or electronic communications shall not be utilized to circumvent any of the provisions of this chapter.” There are other counties in Alabama that do allow the people to physically attend the commission meetings, in the case of the people not being able to physically attend, the commission live streams the meeting and has a phone line open that allows the people to address the commission during the discussion parts of the meeting. I believe these allowances still fall short of ensuring the people their right to address their government, but it is an effort to make accommodations for the public and the people to be included in the local governments that were instituted for their benefit.
I write this email communication to each of the Houston County Commissioners and ask that on Monday February 22, 2021, when the vote comes up to approve the purchase of the Five Star Credit Union building, that your vote will be to table this purchase until the people are able to physically attend a Houston County Commission meeting to publicly voice their concern directly to the Commissioners about such an enormous monetary purchase, since the tax payer, public, and people are the source of the funding for the purchase. Thank you for your time.