Four years I’ll remember
Editor’s note: David Potter asked to write an article to thank the community after four years of serving on the Butler County Board of Supervisors. The Banner-Press decided to publish it for the community, though it has been edited for standard style, among other things.
As my term comes to an end, I would like to thank those that elected me into office four years ago and for allowing me to serve as a member of the Butler County Board of Supervisors.
I have enjoyed working with all of you and serving the citizens of Butler County. It has been a quick four years with a lot of things accomplished. Some of them very obvious, but most of them behind the scenes that nobody sees or will totally understand.
In my opinion, it takes a couple of years to get a feel for how your county government works, know how things flow, and to figure out what should and can be changed. It’s after having a term under your belt, that you can start making a big difference. I wish I could have ran for another term but my position as assistant general manager of Lower Platte South NRD will not allow me to have enough time for the county board and to adequately serve the residents of Butler County.
I took my current NRD position while in office and it was agreed to finish out my term as I felt I owed it to those that elected me. I’d like to think that I did a good job in my four years and that I made a difference. I always tried to work with my constituents and to make decisions that were best for the entire county.
When I was elected to the board, my goals were to make a positive difference and to make the county better. More efficiency in the county, better roads, strategic planning, and organized development were some of those specific goals. I’ve learned that there are more things to serving on the county board than most people know. It’s not simply making a decision of building a bridge or adopting a budget.
Although those are important, it’s working together with all the departments and making the hard decisions that will ultimately affect a lot of people. We had to deal with many things in the last four years that most would not have had in one or even two terms. There was the landfill expansion issue and going to the State Supreme Court, hiring of a new senior center director, hiring of a new highway superintendent, hiring a new zoning administrator, appointing a new clerk of the district court to fill a vacancy, adoption of the employee handbook, new computerized county time clocks, designing and building a new senior center garage, bridge closures, various road and bridge improvements, decision on county detention department, wind turbine discussion and issues, and now the many poultry barns we’re starting to see.
Although much has been accomplished, there is still more to do. The landfill has filed another application and there are a number of land uses developing in the county that may be of concern in the very near future.
A comprehensive plan and basic zoning have always been something I believe could help organize and guide development in the county. Everything needs a plan to direct where you want to go. Some sort of zoning certainly could have been helpful in dealing with the wind turbines, landfill expansion, development on minimum maintenance roads, subdivisions, etc.
We got through most of the issues but I would encourage the Board to look into some development regulations to help guide those tough land use decisions. They don’t have to be strict regulations and being proactive is better than being reactive or ultimately too late.
I also feel it’s important that Board members work with the communities and the townships to be efficient and to better the county. I encourage all Board members to reach out to community officials and township boards to see how projects can be accomplished together. We should be meeting with those communities and townships on a regular basis (or at once or twice a year) to understand the needs of the entire county.
Butler County recently appointed a new highway superintendent, we will have a new sheriff, and the county will have two new Board members. Things will be a little different for a while but each person brings new things to the table. Give them a chance. Keep moving forward and embrace the positive changes. There will be differing opinions on certain items but the Board and Butler County need to stay unified. Let’s continue working to make our county one of the best in the state and a great place to call home.
David Potter is the outgoing representative for District 7 on Butler County Board of Supervisors and served from 2015 to 2018. Succeeding him is Anthony Whitmore of Dwight.