I am constantly amazed and disappointed at the arrogance and deception of public officials, even those locally elected. After the recent articles on the County budget and the non-profits requests for county funding, the following is the exchange I had with a Watauga BOC majority member. His replies are in italics.
As I read the latest items regarding the Budget and the non-profits, some thoughts come to mind. Not that you will pay any attention to this modest property owner, but for what it is worth, here goes:
With the increasing Watauga County budgets year after year, primarily based on increasing property taxes of longtime local people, while allowing double standard tax breaks to the very wealthy, part-time resident resorts, I have even less sympathy for the myriad of special interests, alleged non-profits, with their hands out to these elected officials; double-minded officials who have been and still are lacking insides or backbone. If these special interests or non-profits want to raise money for their causes, then have private fund raisers instead of forcing ALL, already overburdened, taxpayers to help fund their particular ‘non-profit’. And this message is aimed especially towards the alleged BOC majority, the ostensible Republican ‘conservatives’, who are supposed to be sympathetic towards, and the acclaimed voice of, the overburdened taxpayers. But the supposed conservative, Republican majority, as they have been too many times in the past, are lying hypocrites, to say the least. They are just as much for an increasing, oppressive, taxing bureaucracy as their supposed adversaries, the progressive Democrats. And again, the BOC does not have the guts, the decency, to remember, and act for, the longsuffering property taxpayers. You would think that the taxpayers would have earned a voice on their behalf at least occasionally. And this comment is also aimed towards the County bureaucrats, many who are local, longtime residents themselves. They will betray, sell out, their neighbors to keep their jobs, their growing bureaucracy, while pocketing frequent raises.
And please, spare me the platitudes of how this or that non-profit does such wonderful good. Allow me to answer that worn out, bleeding heart cliche, with a classic reminder of the answer from a voter given to a politician of two centuries ago.
“IT’S NOT YOURS TO GIVE!!”
Madeline K. Carter
Perry Yates reply:
Thank you for your concerns. Please review the attached article from the High Country Press regarding the decrease in Watauga County’s annual budget.
Thank you for your reply of sorts.
Yes, Mr. Yates, I am very much aware of the referenced article, and other articles, on the recent budget proposals and the articles depicting the subsequent requests of the non-profits, etc. I get the impression from your simple referral that you must think I am either illiterate, stupid, or ignorant of recent years – or all three. And you, and no doubt, some of your colleagues, think you can just dismiss my, or anyone else’s, outrage and disgust at the obvious contempt and flagrant disregard the BOC has for the local rural people.
In the recent past of just a few consecutive years, the County budgets have increased substantially and continuously. In less than ten years, the budget has increased from the mid-to-high $ 30 M level to now approaching the $ 60 M level. These tremendous budget increases and unfair higher taxes began in the Jim Deal era, with much Republican support and cooperation, which also included the predetermined, massive, and very suspect, land-buying campaign by Mr. Deal with his bi-partisan Republican corroboration, which he publicly referred to several times. ‘Remember?
Also, when the unjustified, predetermined, new high school movement began, with the biased media’s help, without a referendum, which was promised on camera by ALL candidates in October 2004, the initial rather high cost figures were not even half what the final costs resulted in. And Mr. Deal and other officials, along with the late Andy Reese, BOE chair, with the help of another disingenuous Republican, Lowell Younce, publicly lied, one despicable lie after another, about these initial cost figures, laughing about our high costs concerns and the lack of a legitimate referendum. It was sickening and appalling. A few of us, mainly Deb Greene and myself, despite the ridicule and harsh treatment we received, did our utmost to speak out against this massive, unnecessary spending and borrowing spree and their supposed ‘quality’ building project, which turned out to be, again, much more costly than even the highest early estimates. And there were serious problems later with this alleged ‘superior’ building and the extra costs that were unforeseen and that very few people were aware of. Again, during this time period, as a few of us spoke out against this dubious project, these costs and temporary increase in taxation, which, of course, was later made permanent, not one within the Watauga Republican Party, the so-called conservatives, joined us in opposition to the unprecedented indebtedness placed upon the Watauga taxpayers’ necks for many years. You and your Republican party bigwigs, your silence, was pronounced and extremely disappointing. Do you understand?
These debt obligations have been a huge burden on the taxpayers and will continue to be for many years.
However, over the past few years, with the supposed Republican ‘conservative’ majority in control of the BOC, the land buying campaign has continued, and the budgets have still increased. The Republican controlled county government has been just as dubious as the previous years of progressive Democrat control.
Also, your conflict with the Town of Boone has revealed a probable, if not actual, arrangement some on the BOC made with the resort towns, not only for the resort towns to obtain a property tax reduction benefit, but Beech Mountain wanted access to the water from the western Watauga River, which also included a more restrictive watershed for most western Watauga property owners. No doubt some of you officials did not realize we would mount a fierce and loud opposition to such a scheme, which not only caused you to backtrack from this water theft plan, but later we were hit with a property tax burden increase on almost all rural property owners, while Beech Mountain, and other resorts of very wealthy part-time residents, received a considerable reduction in their property tax. This gross double standard is not only outrageously unfair, but it is even more egregious, because it is placing more taxes on longtime rural people of many generations, most of whom are of modest means. You are displaying such a lack of respect and contempt for the local people, it is beyond description. When I appealed my increased property taxes, I made several good points with the appraiser, his excuses and replies were baseless, and he finally conceded these facts and his own ignorance. But my property taxes, like most of my neighbors, are still going up.
And do you really think the pitiful $3M decrease will fool anyone? Again, you and the County BOC and officials have such a disrespect for the rural people, it is just nauseating.
Madeline K. Carter
Thank you for the history lesson of Watauga county. While the $3.3M is not the reduction you would like it is a step in the right direction for the citizens of Watauga county.
Thank you for your comments,
The above is just another example of the deceit and arrogance of both parties towards the people, especially against the modest rural taxpayers. Even more revealing is the disrespectful, ostracizing behavior of the county Republican leaders regarding their own support base. Mr. Yates will not acknowledge the duplicity and collusion that has continuously increased budgets and taxation forced upon the already overburdened county taxpayers. Also, disingenuous, cowardly GOP officials have the gall to try to usurp and take credit for efforts planned and financed solely by independent rural people. Recent events has again proven these obvious truths.
Madeline K. Carter