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There is no reason to be silent when someone is asking what you want

Recently, officials with the City of Walterboro hosted a spokeswoman from the Lowcountry Council of Governments as part of a public hearing on the wants and needs of the city’s residents.
This public hearing was routine, and is part of the city’s ongoing process in seeking and obtaining grants from the LCOG. The spokeswoman from the Lowcountry Council of Governments was eloquent, and gave city council and city leaders a very specific overview of what the city qualified for.
The Community Development Block Grant program is provided through the Department of Commerce and is designed to give assistance to local governments and to help those governments improve the community’s economic or revitalization needs.
The grant is also for low-to-moderate income people.
In Colleton County, a family of four is considered to be of low-to-moderate income with a household income of $38,650 per year. A family of two in Colleton County is considered low-to-moderate income for a household income of less than $30,950 per year.
As a whole, nearly 50 percent of all Walterboro residents are considered to be low or moderate income. Specifically, 49.9 percent of all city residents are low-to-moderate income. In order to get the CDBG program, the city would have to have at least 51 percent of its residents labeled as low to moderate.
While the city might not qualify for this specific grant, Walterboro does receive a large chunk of change from the LCOG on revitalization and beautification projects.
So, when it came time for the LCOG representative to hear from our residents about what needs to be improved on in the city, no one said anything. No one spoke at the public hearing.
Throughout the years, the LCOG has been a friend to Walterboro. Their resourcing of federal funds to Walterboro has helped to complete many projects, many of which have revitalized the area.
We depend on these grants and on the LCOG.
Moreover, we are grateful that our city’s leaders understand this grant and have worked well with the LCOG leaders. Without the insight of our city council and mayor and administrative team, our city would not have received millions in LCOG funding in recent years, and our city’s landscape would not be nearly as complete as it is now.
So why are you silent?
The public hearings are well publicized. Knowing that half of our city’s residents are living at the low to moderate income poverty level, more of our residents should be involved in trying to improve our city’s financial standing. This includes the grant processes and our giving feedback to people who want our opinions.
No one came to the recent public hearing. No spoke. If our city’s leaders were not well-versed in how to proceed with the grant processes, Walterboro could be missing out on some serious cash and opportunities.
We need to be more involved in our local governments’ processes. When someone asks for our opinion about what we want to happen in our community, we need to speak up.

Heather Walters (1487 Posts)