|COMMENT By Bob Weaver|
Current 2010 census projections indicate Calhoun County is continuing its long pattern of population decline as most WV counties, and is inching its way below a 7,000 population mark.
The census forecast indicates the county seat, Grantsville, could drop below 500, causing a critical financial problem sustaining the town.
The Census Bureau's long-term projection for Calhoun County: 7,581(2000) 7,251(2005) 7,187(2010) 7,124(2015) 7,024(2020) 6,910(2025) 6,780(2030) 6,640(2035)
Since government funding is often linked to the number of people served, it's important for every county citizen to be counted in this year's census.
The failure to be counted in a census or voting in an election, is a forecast of a dwindling need to exist.
Rural communities are facing the political dynamic of "bigger is better," politicians uttering corporate business terms like merger, centralization, consolidation, and globalization.
The "bigger is better" movement claims they can provide better services and save taxpayers money. There is little if any proof.
Calhoun has among the lowest tax bases on the eastern seaboard.
Sadly, several thousand of Calhoun's registered votes do not cast ballots, part of a nationwide disconnect between the public and government.
Larger WV towns are in a quandary about not falling below 50,000 citizens, saying they'll lose out with government funding and be ignored by large companies. Both Charleston and Huntington are at that threshold, and are really interested in consolidation.
The Legislature created a committee to study consolidation in WV, and ignored representation for a single rural county.
The dissolution of counties means the dissolution of the county school system, which has long been the goal of state education officials.
Consolidation means the end to those low tax rates.
It would be difficult to believe that removing government and education from any local control would improve our great democratic experience.
We live, breath, and raise our family on the earth where our feet are planted, a community of people connected to a place and to each other.
In the end, that's what really counts.