Public hearing scheduled for October 22

More than 40 Town of Osceola residents flocked to the monthly board of supervisors meeting held Tuesday October 1 to voice their opinion on the proposal to increase to a five-person board. The majority of attendees backed the suggestion made by the newest supervisor, Brandon Whittaker.

The proposal made by Whittaker would reduce the chairman’s and supervisors’ pay in order to fund the five-person board without raising taxes. The current pay for the three-person board sits at $22,467.96, whereas Whitaker’s proposal would drop the total to $21,600 leaving $867.96 towards other expenses.

Whittaker also believes that the decision to increase to a five-person board will represent taxpayers more thoroughly. To illustrate his point, he conducted a survey of the five towns in Polk County regarding the transition to a five-person board.

“I asked all five the same questions,” said Whittaker. “Do you regret having a five-person board?  All of them said ‘no.’ Do you feel that a five-person board gives your own taxpayers more representation? All of them said, ‘yes, absolutely.’ Do you have issues filling your five-person board? All of them said, ‘no.’”

Whittaker’s proposal was met with opposition from Town Board Chairman, Doug Schmidt.

 “I believe better decisions are made with a three member board,” he said, “The more people you try to get together that harder it is to come up with a good decision, because everyone believes that their ideas are the best ideas. When you have three members up here, it restricts the number of people talking, but it doesn’t necessarily cut off representation to you folks.”

The discussion was then turned over to the public attendees to voice their support or opposition for the move to a five-member board, many whom overwhelmingly favored the proposal including Tom Magnafici who at one point called for a show of hands from residents. Of the more than 40 attendees, only three raised hands in opposition.

Whittaker then made a motion to hold a public hearing October 22, that carried unanimously. Immediately following the hearing will be a special Town Board of Supervisors meeting to vote on the increase from three to five-member board. Whittaker and the board strongly encouraged the public to attend and represent themselves on this matter.

“As your town supervisor, I feel it is time for our board to grow with our community and add two more members to the Town of Osceola,” said Whittaker, “We are the largest town in Polk County and we need to give our taxpayers the best representation for their tax dollars.” 

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