To The Editor:
On Sept. 5, 2013, I attended a well-publicized public meeting at the Augusta Elementary School regarding the Augusta Bottom Road closure proposal. The meeting was narrated by St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann.
The meeting was publicized to be held from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. I arrived early as to get a good seat because this issue is, and has been since October 2010, very important to me as it is to others in our community.
I entered the building and sat in the first row of seats on the very end. I decided to move closer to the speakers to compensate for my hearing loss. I moved to the middle of the front row only to find the first three seats had placards on them indicating that those seats were reserved for Arden Engelage (Warren County presiding commissioner), Dan Hampson (Warren County Northern District commissioner) and Hubie Kluesner (Warren County Southern District commissioner).
I was anxious for their presence because I believed they could answer a lot of questions that the public had.
There were 165 people in attendance including representatives from St. Charles County, Washington, Augusta and attorneys from various areas. I was totally impressed by the attendance. Once the meeting was started, the three chairs that had been reserved for our county commissioners were still empty.
None of our elected officials attended this meeting and it was mentioned numerous times throughout the meeting. Their absence was very evident as the narrators and public made comments on several occasions during the meeting that they were not there to answer any questions that the public may have had. There were a few people from Warren County who did attend the meeting but the major players in the county who could have answered questions were not there.
Warren County was accused of not being a “good neighbor” several times by Mr. Brazil and there was no one there to dispute his claim. I was very embarrassed because of the lack of participation by our county officials.
Maybe we (Warren County) are not being a good neighbor because we refuse to accept our neighbor’s invitation to attend their meeting. I am of the belief that we elected our commissioners to represent the people of Warren County and that was not done. I can accept maybe one of them having a prior meeting to attend but this issue is of major concern both to Warren County, St. Charles County, Augusta and Washington. I would have thought at least one of them would have attended.
St. Charles County has spent $1.5 million in fixing its end of the road. All they are asking for is a little cooperation from Warren County to make that road safer. It was apparent at the meeting that the vast majority of the public does not want that road closed down so in my opinion, fixing it is the only other solution.
When this issue came to light after the death of 16-year-old Ella Neier, an engineering study of the road was done and the recommendation was to put a guardrail along the water edge. That money had been raised through private donations that were raised by Ella Neier’s family.
The only thing required from Warren County was the maintenance of that portion of the roadway which Warren County refused to do.
The ownership of that road is in question (which I find hard to believe), but I still contend that Warren County has a moral and ethical obligation to make that road as safe as possible because it lies totally within Warren County.