GOLIAD – Anyone who has attended a Goliad County Commissioners Court meeting — or watched the proceedings via streaming video — has heard raised voices and contentious debate, but for Pct. 3 Commissioner Kenneth Edwards, who was re-elected on Nov. 3, the goal should be for officials to work together and do what is best for local residents.
“I know there has been a lot of mudslinging, but I think it’s important that we put that behind us and just do what’s best for the people we serve,” Edwards said. “I’m just honored that the people returned me to office and have allowed me to keep working.
“We still have a lot of work to do — a lot of roads are in bad shape. I’m doing my best with the money we get, but I’m having to put patches on until we can do it right.”
During his first year as a commissioner, he said work was disrupted by Hurricane Harvey, “and the second year we didn’t have any money. The last two years we were able to get some work done but we still have a long way to go.”
Although the other county commissioners have more miles of road to keep up, Edwards said his precinct faces the challenge of being spread out — and also must overcome a backlog of needs.
“My precinct has the smallest amount of roads but the greatest number of miles to get to them,” he said. “A lot of the roads haven’t had anything done to them in several years, but I’m trying to get it done.”
Edwards said commissioners are working together and sharing manpower and equipment so that taxpayers get the best results with experienced workers, but the process of improving roads has taken longer than he had hoped.
“We are working to do the right thing for the county. It costs a lot of money to build and repair roads, but it costs a lot more to hire somebody (from outside county operations) to do it.
“So it’s important for us to work together and help each other out. That’s what is best for the county.”
Goliad has faced a budget crunch in recent years and that’s something Edwards said he hopes the commissioners court and other county employees are able to resolve.
“I definitely want to get a handle on our budget,” he said. “We have had a balanced budget but it has cost a lot of our savings to get it done. I know it’s important to build back our savings so that we have the resources we need.
“We also want to bring in new businesses and industries. If somebody wants to come here, it’s important to do what we can to help get them here. We really need to get on the ball when people are ready and want to come here. “I want to see the county grow and stay strong. I’m proud to be from Goliad.”
Although members of the commissioners court and other elected or appointed officials may disagree on issues, Edwards said he hopes to see a more cordial environment in the future.
“We need to forget the arguments of the past few months, put it behind us, move forward and all work together for what is best for Goliad County,” he said. “That’s what we should all be there for. We are going to have disagreements sometimes but people don’t have to get mad about it.
“When I started, I saw some ugly battles in commissioners court. My first day in court I said I hoped everyone could get along. It hasn’t worked out that way, but I’m not giving up.”