There’s something many politicians would rather the public didn’t know, and the fewer who are aware of it, the better.
When governmental bodies spend money, it isn’t theirs. Cities, counties, states, nations – they have no assets. What is spent belongs to the taxpayers. Public funding, public property, public interest. It’s the No. 1 reason that the average citizen has a right to public documents and access to governmental meetings in that are in any way related to tax dollars.
That’s why it’s puzzling that a law exists in Alabama that allows public officials to buy property without disclosing any details about the arrangement until 60 days have passed since the deal was sealed.
Last week, the Prattville City Council voted to spend $1.3 million of taxpayer funds for a piece of property, but aren’t disclosing what they bought or what they plan to do with it. In fact, the project is so secret members of the council don’t know the full story. It’s as though they’re on an episode of Let’s Make a Deal.
Despite widespread concern voiced by residents, despite much of the detail surrounding the sale of the land being undisclosed, the council proceeded. Many southerners will recognize this as buying a pig in a poke. That’s arrogant and reckless behavior from those in public office, and violates the trust between constituent and elected official.