LETTERS / The County Budget Hearing

Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 8:59 am

To the Watauga BOC commissars:

It’s apparent, once again, that you are just going through the formalities, and the huge recreation center decision has already been made, even years ago. County officials are admitting there is a big sum of taxpayer money accumulated for this particular project, which is one of the reasons you are very reluctant to disclose to citizens the ample fund balances in any category. However, as before, it is unfortunate that most citizens, the taxpayers themselves, are unaware of such ‘accumulated’ funds for this totally unnecessary, costly, and predetermined, special interest project.  

One official has expressed supposed concern for the maintenance and operating costs of the proposed recreation center, let alone the huge construction and equipment costs.  This concern, though, is apparently just lip service. 

One would think that this recreation center group, which has been in existence for several years, could have easily held private fund raisers, raised the money themselves for such a project, built it themselves, and run it as a profitable business. Certainly, many within this group are and were wealthy enough. But no, many wealthy people are notoriously stingy when it comes to using their own funds.  So they frequently twist government officials’ arms.  

So, I ask you: Is this what you call being ‘good stewards of the County’s, actually, the taxpayers’ money’ ?

I wish county citizens could read the long, detailed letter Scott St. Clair addressed to the BOC regarding specifics for the proposed rec center, which was included in the agenda packet of last summer (7/18/2017).

This situation is quite similar to the manner in which the County, a few years ago, purchased some properties for what resulted in the Ted Mackorell Soccer fields. That’s another substantial project for special interests that the county taxpayers were forced to fund to the tune of  $6.2 M. It is also interesting that earlier estimates re: that particular project was  ~ $2 Million.  Plus, the considerable annual maintenance costs for these soccer fields the County totally pays for, which varies but the costs amounts to as much as ~$25 K. Now, as to any shared costs, to paraphrase a famous reporter’s remark concerning shared costs; ‘the County taxpayers, one elephant – everyone else, one peanut.’

Another question regarding ASU’s usage of any County facilities:  Just how is ASU using these facilities, including to what extent, and are there any regulations and restrictions concerning such usage ? If so, does ASU adhere to these regulations and/or restrictions ?  The same questions apply to other special interest groups.    

Finally, how you handled the sales tax referendum was unethical and even unlawful, but that does not seem to matter to officials when it concerns pleasing powerful special interests.

 

Karen Carter 

 

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