I hate to beat up on Elkhorn City again, but since they continue to royally mess things up, it’s hard not to call them out.  

In the past, we discovered and reported that the city has run off many tourism opportunities and events that could have allowed the city to gain some revenue. Events like The Cloudsplitter and paddling were run off. They threw out the people who usually camp at “Rat Hole,” so that’s gone too.

They struggled to get liquor approved and now the opposite of what should happen is happening. Instead of alcohol supporting other growth, alcohol sales and liquor stores are the only growth.  Poor leadership made the liquor laws implode.

They are using city taxpayer resources for storage and distribution of food, their water and sewer bills to the “right” people go uncollected, while the rest of the people are facing an increase. The former council had a stranglehold on the politics and now it appears as if they feel they can get away with anything. And for the most part, they are.

During the last snowstorm the county judge-executive was pushed under the plow for not clearing Upper Branch Road. The residents were led to believe that Upper Branch Road is a county road in past years. It’s not.

According to a letter we received from the judge-executive, the only way the county has any obligation in that area is if the mayor asks, which he didn’t. Since the mayor didn’t ask for help, either because he feels he doesn’t have to or he just doesn’t know how to, that road went dangerously unattended.  

Over the years the teamsters ruled the city. Since the teamsters are not as strong as they have been, the city is ruled by clergy and doing all things holy in the name of God. At least that’s what they say. The result is a potentially thriving city, being run into the ground with no accountability.

There were water tanks that, according to my contacts, were dilapidated and were in need of repair or to be replaced. They were taken down. I asked via an open records request to see the minutes from the meeting where that was discussed and approved by the council and where, if any contract existed. You guessed it; it was done behind closed doors. There are no minutes or a history of the tanks being discussed, according to the response to my open records request.

I hear the guys who took down the tanks were paid for their labor by salvaging the scrap metal from the tanks, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. I called a person who allegedly took down the tanks and when I asked questions he hung up on me. That type of behavior is an indicator that something’s not right.

Miraculously, no one has any idea what happened to the tanks, or what happened to the money for which they were scrapped. No one knows who or how they were removed and no one knows anything about a contract or approval on behalf of the city to remove them, at least publicly. But the satellite photos show that the tanks were there and now they ain’t. Something is fishy in Elkhorn and it’s not the creek.

The fire department is under fire because the mayor wants to see their books, and rightfully so. But in defense of the fire department, they have raised money they don’t want city to have their grubby mitts on. And they don’t want to go through the hassle of asking permission to purchase crucial equipment in order to do their jobs. I would say that’s in fear of not getting approval over a vendetta.

The fire department will submit their use of all public money as required to the city but should fight to keep their privately-raised slush fund away from the mayor and the city council, past and present. The city government has proved they haven’t a clue on how to move a city forward — just how to tax and spend behind closed doors.

Thanks for reading the News-Express.

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