Letter to the Editor: Commissioners ignoring public

Dear Editor:
Having read the Aug. 22 Herald Times article titled “County has four plans for justice center using old school,” it occurs to me that there is “a rat in the wood pile.”
Earlier this year, when the town of Meeker held a public meeting concerning the need to turn the old Meeker elementary School over to Rio Blanco County, only one commissioner, Jeff Eskelson, was present.
The general sentiment of the standing-room-only public was that they were opposed to turning the school into a “justice center,” which would handle up to 72 inmates. At that meeting and in the latest “press release,” it is apparent to me that our commissioners had already made up their mind what they were going to do with the school site and had made that decision in the complete absence of any significant public input.
In reference to the Herald Times article, Mr. Bolton’s statement that “We needed to get this project moving in some way,” and his subsequent comments are both vague and misleading.
Apparently Mr. Bolton has decided what’s best for his subjects! Attention, Mr. Bolton: There need be no rush to finalize and implement a plan unless John Q. Public demands it. He has not.
Apparently, our commissioners are taking the current example of our federal and state governments to heart. That is, to do whatever they deem necessary, at whatever cost, in complete absence of any public need and in defiance of public opinion.
Rio Blanco County needs only enough jail space for Rio Blanco County prisoners, no more.
What happened to the proposal mentioned at the town meeting that would add on to the backside of the courthouse?? It’s very curious that the proposal which may be the most sensible, efficient and economical is no longer being considered.
Right now is the time to take a more active role in our county government. Citizens need to make written (letter or email) comments to the Rio Blanco County commissioners, stating exactly what you think about the “justice center.” If our elected officials continue to ignore the will of the public and act in their own self interest, than certainly recall is an opinion.
Does the record show that the commissioners have been open and forthright with the county’s citizens?? I think not!
Mark Hafkenschiel
Powell Park
Rio Blanco County