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Change starts today

The election is over, but that doesn’t mean public officials should stop talking with constituents.

Change doesn’t occur without open dialogue, and it’s important that our public officials use their power to truly make the lives of Grant County citizens better.

It’s easy for candidates to take a deep breath once Election Day is said and done, but the best and brightest continue to do their homework in order to understand the complexities of local government and their roles.

Our community can’t afford to have anyone use their title and public office as a way to enrich the lives of their friends or families.

But our community also can’t afford to tune out now that election season is over. Too often, public meetings are held without anyone in the audience. Luckily, our reporters spend their early mornings and late evenings attending meetings, but it is impossible to capture everything in one story.

Our reporters are also unable to give guidance or share their opinion on the topics they cover, and although a reporter’s presence often discourages ill behavior, it cannot replace the importance of public input.

This opinion page allows readers to share their thoughts by submitting letters to the editor to ctreport@indy.rr.com, but our community needs citizens that comment on public proposals as council members vote to spend our hard-earned tax dollars.

No matter who the winners and losers were last night, the citizens of Grant County expect transparency, accountability and progress.

People want to see the government do the things within its power to create and support change around our cities and towns.

They want safe public spaces where they can enjoy time with their children or loved ones. They want smooth roads, and even sidewalks. They want tax dollars spent conservatively, and they want any extra tax dollars back in their paychecks and pockets.

They don’t want government officials who collect money but don’t keep receipts. They don’t want tax breaks given to a select few private business owners. They don’t want promises on economic development projects that end with nothing to show for the community, and they don’t want other people getting raises when they can hardly afford to provide for their families.

When it comes to transparency, Grant County citizens want leaders who aren’t afraid to share their vision of the future even though they know their ideas will be criticized. They want to know about the government’s financial problems and what public officials are doing to fix things before a public hearing is scheduled for a proposed tax increase.

Leaders also need to know that accountability starts with them. They have the ability to hold government employees accountable, and the public expects the bad actors to have repercussions for their actions.

There are a lot of things that our elected officials can do on their first day. A good start would be to ask questions and not go with the flow. It’s too easy to vote in favor of a proposal just because everyone else did. A true leader isn’t afraid to go against the current.

We congratulate all of the leaders ready to tackle four-year terms starting next year, but there is no time to relax. Even though terms don’t start until New Year’s Day, it’s time to start working and preparing today.