City and county need to work out differences
It has become far too obvious that the city of Porterville and Tulare County are not getting along. This is not something that developed overnight. The differences have grown over time and are now preventing the city and county from collaborating on many needed projects.
The division between the two became more apparent during the City Council’s debate on whether to approve a Joint Powers Agreement with the county. The JPA is actually two agreements wrapped into one. One would give tentative approval to the county to have the city collect developer fees for county projects, on top of the developer fees the city already collects for city projects, and the second would approve participation in the Central California Railroad Authority.
More recently is the county’s decision to reduce the number of days the Teapot Dome landfill is open and to increase dumping fees. Both of those decisions impact Porterville greatly and while city officials recognize the need for the county to balance its budget, they are not happy the county moved so quickly to take those actions.
However, the division appears bigger than just those issues and at times, it appears personalities are clashing as well.
It is no secret that Fifth District Supervisor Mike Ennis and Council member Cam Hamilton twice have engaged in hotly contested supervisor races, with Ennis winning both times, but that should not be the reason for the conflicts.
It appears there is genuine distrust on both sides and comments, both publicly and privately by representatives of both, are disturbing. There have been public statements that are not helping the situation and certainly not serving the citizens of Porterville or the Fifth District.
The two sides need to continue the dialogue begun this month and find common ground.
There are projects, such as improving North Main Street from Henderson to Linda Vista, the new county jail, renovation of the old courthouse and more where the two entities need to be able to work together for the betterment of everyone.