To be or not to be?
It’s said that all politics is local, and local politics begins with races for mayors and town council or city council seats. Politics has been described as the art of deciding who gets what, and typically there is competition among civic-minded residents to help make those decisions.

The town of Waldo, population 283, evidently is not typical. When the town’s mayor resigned three years ago, like dominoes, the council members did, too, along with the board members of the town’s water authority. There is a town clerk in place, and a part-time water department clerk to take payments from the system’s 140 customers. Tax revenue is coming in, and routine bills are being paid. Household garbage is being picked up, thanks to a contract put in place by the town of Waldo, and residents are billed directly for that service.

Former Councilman Jack Goodwin questions the need to have a municipal government at all. He complains that roads are not being maintained by the county because they are in a municipality, and he feels that the people would be better off without it.

Town clerk Iris Jemison said when the town had an active council, they were able to work with the county to get the needed work done. She says the town is on solid financial footing, and just needs more people to get involved. Two people had qualified to run for two of the town’s five at-large council seats Monday, and one person had qualified to run for mayor. Neither job pays a salary.

Susan Crim, the former mayor whose resignation led the other resignations, has qualified to run to regain her old job, and thinks a functioning town government is the best way to improve the quality of life for the town’s residents.

While these candidates are offering themselves for public service in Waldo, Goodwin is preparing petitions to dissolve the municipality. According to the Code of Alabama, 1975, it takes three-fourths of the town’s registered voters signing the petition to do that, plus a proper filing, hearing and decree from the county probate judge.

It will be up to Waldo’s residents to decide what’s best for their future. For others who may want to get involved, July 17 is the last day to qualify.
© 2012