"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, June 1, 2018

Future Plans for County Farm Acreage Still Up in the Air

There is an old proverb that goes "if too many people are involved in a task, it will not be done well."
An article in Friday's Conway Daily Sun: "County has failure to communicate over farm" epitomizes that.The ongoing saga of what to do with the 900+ acres of the mostly forested former  (maybe current?) Carroll County Farm continues unabated. 
There is a Carroll County Lands Advisory Committee that evolved from a County Farm Committee that was tasked with making recommendations as to what to do with the county-owned land. Three years or so of meetings, discussions, budget fights and reports and the question still remains. What shall the county do with the land and farm and what to do with the remnants of the old nursing home which has a fully equipped and functional commercial kitchen, not in use?
The committee was formed by the Commissioner's to explore uses for the 800+ acres and buildings that constitute the County farm. 
 The concerns mentioned in the article by committee member Dale Drew are well taken. The committee has a Commissioner, Chair Bevard and a Delegation member current Chair Mark McConkey. Neither the Delegation or Commissioners should be in the dark about this committee which has been meeting for nearly a year. 
Commissioner Babson was criticized for taking the bull by the horns and using about an acre of the farmland to plant some winter squash, pumpkins and gourds. As he stated, just because it is winter sqaush, doesn't mean it is planted December 1st. 
(Considering that Commissioner Babson had his stipend reduced by the Delegation to $9,500, I would say planting and maintaining this field is a bargain for taxpayers. )

The winter squash  will be prepared by the kitchen crew of MVC and sent over to the jail to be packaged (vacuum sealed), returned to MVC and frozen for winter use. The gourds will stay around to be used for Fall decorations in the nursing home. The commissioners hope to wholesale the pumpkins out or perhaps give them to county employees. 

Carroll County Commissioner David Babson getting a portion of the old farm land ready for planting 

 Pumpkins, some gourds and winter squash were planted. All work was at no cost to the county.
One sentence on the Conway Sun article was a bit troublesome. Mr. Drew stated that Drew said he's been told by delegation members that the committee should be looking at alternatives to having the county be in the farming business. The Delegation should take a step back and remember that this committee was to be open to all possibilities for the land. Many comments at the listening sessions this committee held would seem to indicate that maybe more Carroll County taxpayers would not have a problem subsidizing a working farm than not. It seems that some Delegation members are influencing this committee to lean a certain way lest the outcome will not be supported. Good decision rarely come from such interference. I have heard that Rep, McConkey has quit the committee due to Commissioner Babson's using a tiny portion of the land to plant a small garden for the benefit of the county rather than let the land just sit and grow weeds.

At some point, the Commissioner, not the Delegation, will need to make some decisions about the use of the land. Preferably this should all be wrapped up in time for the next budget cycle. Will it? The committee is expected to have some written proposals to the Commissioners for their June 27th meeting. 

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