Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Bost hails slowed growth as top accomplishment
Growth slowed down in Fayette County during the two years Harold Bost was chairman of the County Commission.
And while that might be considered a negative in many areas, Bost says he is proud of it.
"In the unincorporated area during 1999, building permits were down 10 percent," Bost said during a brief farewell speech during last week's organizational meeting of the commission. "For 2000, they're down 22.1 percent compared to 1999.
"I'm very pleased with that happening," he added.
Planning Department records show permits for new construction in the unincorporated areas dropped from 574 in 1998 to 519 in '99 and 404 in 2000.
"One of the reasons I ran in the first place was because of the rapid growth we were having," Bost told The Citizen this week. "I feel very good about the fact we've been able to bring it more under control, at least in the unincorporated areas."
Bost was elected chairman in January 1999, midway in his first term as a commissioner, following two years of often rancorous disagreements with former Chairman Robert Sprayberry and former Commissioner Scott Burrell over development issues.
Sprayberry and Burrell were defeated in the 1998 elections, replaced by Linda Wells and Greg Dunn, both of whom called for a more conservative approach to growth that would be more in line with the positions Bost had taken.
Following their election, Dunn and Wells helped elect Bost chairman.
During last week's organizational meeting, Bost told his fellow commissioners he didn't want to be chairman for a third year, and commissioners elected Dunn chairman and Wells vice chairman. Commissioner Herb Frady abstained in the otherwise unanimous vote for Dunn as chairman. He has consistently favored having the chairman chosen by the voters, instead of the current system in which the chairman is chosen by the board.
"It's time to move on to new ground... for someone other than myself," Bost told the board. He elaborated for The Citizen. "I think we have enough talent on the board, and they need an opportunity to contribute in that position."
He also wants to have more time to travel, Bost said, adding that between negotiations with other governments and other duties like ribbon cuttings, the person serving in the chairman's post works 30 or 35 hours a week in what is officially a part time position.
"I know Greg and Linda will do a great job as chairman and vice chairman," he added.
"We as a board have had a good two years," Bost told the commission last week.
He pointed with pride to the fact that plans are in place for a new county jail and courthouse complex, with construction expected to begin this spring. Impact fees to help pay for new fire stations and equipment also are on the verge of completion, awaiting state approval.
He also is proud of the board's quick passage of a new and "meaningful" ethics ordinance, he said.
His biggest disappointment, he told The Citizen, is failure to come to an agreement with local cities that would allow for impact fees to help pay the cost of the new jail.
"I thank the board for the confidence you have had in electing me as chairman for the last two years," he told the commission.