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LETTERS / A Letter to the County Commissioners – Let the Community Speak

My family has lived in Watauga County for generations, and I have been a full-time resident since 2018. I have recently become more involved with community work through Down Home NC and the Watauga Housing Council. Through this work, I have noticed that the public comment for the County Commission is held near the end of the meeting, after the vote.

At what point did the Commissioners decide this? A majority of local governments in North Carolina have public comment at the beginning of meetings. This allows for members of our community to speak on items that directly affect their quality of life prior to them being voted on. I think this is essential, as the board members should be informed by the people whom they are meant to represent before making decisions on their behalf.

When speaking to the commission candidates last year, I heard much talk about how they would bring positive changes to Watauga County for all of the people that live here. This would be a simple, but powerful positive change that shows the commissioners truly do want to hear from their community and value their input. Adding another place for public comment at the start of the meeting would also allow for more of the working community to participate in their own governance. That’s why I’ll be advocating for that change at the public comment on April 4th.

Commissioners, show us that you do want to hear from the voices that elected you by giving us a place to speak.

-Sarah Davis, Meat Camp