with Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey, one year after his return to office.
CHESTER -- Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey's first year back in office has seen everything from a zoning controversy about tigers to the possibility of two ethanol plants coming to the community.
Although he held the post for 24 years before an eight-year hiatus, Roddey said he didn't miss the office during his time away.
But he was glad to come back.
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This year, he orchestrated the purchase of a 29,580-square-foot county office complex, a structure that now bears his name. He recently talked with Herald reporter Charles Perry.
Comments have been edited for brevity.
Q. Zoning has been a problem over the last year, especially with the CSX and Tiger World controversies. But county leaders have made a move to better inform residents about zoning changes. Do you think the zoning issues have finally been resolved?
A. "I think they have, yeah. ... There's always going to be zoning issues. ... But as far as giving people the access and the knowledge about something that's fixing to come next to them, as far as industrial businesses and things like that, they will be in the know that something's going to come. We can't always tell them the name, but they'll know that (the zoning's) going to be changed, and they'll have the opportunity to speak."
Q. What have been the biggest challenges over the last year for you?
A. "I don't know that I've really been challenged much at all. ... The biggest challenge, I guess, is the changes that have been made in the last eight years. And it really wasn't a challenge. What it was, was just a change... I don't actually have hands on everything like I used to. ... That's the biggest thing to me. And it's a wonderful change. It's not a bad thing. It's a good thing."
Q. Do you have any regrets over the last year?
A. "I can't say that I have ... 'Cause I thought that everything that we've done has been open and above board and for the good of everybody, not for a few. I'm in it for the many, not for the few. And if one little bunch wants something and the rest of the people are not wanting it, I'm not in favor of that."
Q. Are most of the calls you get from satisfied or dissatisfied people?
A. "I would say 90 percent of the calls I get are people that's saying that they agree with what we're doing, they appreciate what we're doing. Just like this building. You know, we had a few people that didn't want us to move. And I hated it. I hated for us to have to move. That was something that we couldn't help. ... It's been a wonderful opportunity for us. And it's an opportunity for the people to have a building that they can come to that they don't have to worry about where they are going to park; they don't have to worry about climbing stairs; they can just come right on in, do their business and come right back out."
Q. What's been different this time around?
A. "I live by this old adage that your friends tend to come and go, but your enemies accumulate. For over 24 years, I accumulated a lot of enemies. ... I've been here almost a year, and I don't think that I've created that many enemies yet."
Q. You mentioned that you accumulated enemies in the past. You were elected in a landslide last year. Do you think people have buried the hatchet?
A. "Things came out in that time (his eight years out of office) that proved that I wasn't the culprit in the deal ... Personally, I don't worry about yesterday. I worry about tomorrow."
Q. Ethanol has been a buzzword in the county with the possibility of two plants -- one corn-based, one wood-based -- coming here. We're in the middle of a severe drought. Ethanol plants require a lot of water. Is there any concern about these plants?
A. "Not at all. Because right now (the local water district is) selling less water now than they were because of plant closures. And the one that uses the corn, it'll be like a million gallons a day, but they're going to put 400,000 (gallons) back into the system. ... And that's two years, at least two years, away. So hopefully the drought will be over."
Q. A year ago, you mentioned that you wanted to bring back jobs to this county. Until recently, the county had the second-highest unemployment rate in the state. Where do you go from here?
A. "There's no other way you can go but just keep on doing what we're doing. If we've got to give (land) away, like Alabama's doing down there, they're giving away the farm and the farmer's wife and the farmer's daughter and the cows and everything else to get these companies and things. What do you reap out of it? ... We try to do it on an up-and-up scale where it's good for them and good for us, too. There are certain incentives we have to give, but we don't give it all away. And that's what we've got to do. We've got to continue doing what we're doing now and just keep on working. Because eventually they're going to come. Charlotte's running out of room. ... York County's bound to be pretty soon run out of room. The natural thing is it's going to flow towards us."