By Molly Davis, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/02/2011 08:25:57 PM PDT

REDLANDS – Supervisor Neil Derry held a Town Hall meeting Wednesday night in an effort to open up a dialogue with the people he represents.

About two dozen people gathered in council chambers of City Hall to hear Derry discuss the state of the county and offer him about their concerns.

“My goal is to listen to the public,” he said. “If there’s something I need to do differently, I need to hear from you folks.”

He gave the audience a brief overview of his career, noting that he grew up in San Bernardino and now lives in Redlands. He said his work in the private and public sectors have helped shape the way he views county government.

He then went right in to what’s going wrong, and what’s going right in the county.

“We’re slightly upside down in our budget, but we’re doing better than Riverside County,” he said. “We’re hoping to close the budget gaps.”

Another big topic was parolee realignment, or the wave of prisoners being released from prisons to county facilities in the next few months, a concern Derry shared with several members of the audience.

“The concern I have is the funding source and extra programs to monitor (the parolees) is not guaranteed,” he said.

“Most of these guys are not good guys,” he added, fearing recidivism.

But there are good things going on in the county, like the Moonridge Animal Park, a county facility in Big Bear, that the county is working on expanding. The facility pays for itself, Derry said.

And in Pioneertown, work will be done on a long-needed water pipe. Residents have suffered through contaminated water since the Landers earthquake in the 1990s.

“There’s nothing more important than fresh water,” Derry said.

He then fielded questions from residents like Al Kelley, who shared his concerns about large airplanes flying overhead in Redlands. With his staff taking notes, Derry promised to look into the issue.

To read entire story, click here.