To the Editor:
I would like to elaborate on the comments I made at the hearing on Oct. 19 on the proposed recycling racility in Beaverdam. Leaving aside the NIMBY (not in my backyard) concerns, this is just a bad deal for all the people of Haywood County.
The development of this property as an industrial site was a good investment decision made by the county. Unfortunately, it happened to be ready for marketing just as a severe nationwide economic downturn occurred. It’s discouraging to see this property sit idle for years as the nation climbs out of the recession, but I think this property will soon be worth much more than Haywood County has spent purchasing and developing the site.
The benefits of this recovery should accrue to Haywood County, not to a speculator who can craft a deal to pick up the property on the cheap. As Warren Buffett has said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” It seems as though the Haywood County commissioners are fearful that this property will never be disposed of at a good price, and Ken Allison is stepping in to take advantage of your fear.
With a little patience and a better marketing effort, I am confident that this property will attract one or more higher quality businesses that can provide much better and higher-paying jobs for citizens of Haywood County. Perhaps we could look for businesses in the fields where Haywood Community College is already training students. I’m not aware that “garbage sorting” is one of the fields they train for at Haywood Community College.
I have other concerns about this proposal as well. At the hearing on Oct. 19, the county manager’s presentation alluded to property tax benefits of this transaction. I have had legal experts look into this, and they confirmed that state law exempts the land and equipment at a recycling facility from the property tax base.
I find it hard to believe that Ken Allison did not know this, and he certainly witnessed the presentation at the hearing and the speaker who raised the issue near the end of the hearing. Knowing this, it is clear that Ken Allison has not been acting in good faith even if he never made representations about the property tax benefits himself. This causes me to have much less confidence in any of the other assertions he has made.
I am sure that other residents will raise many other legitimate issues about this scheme, but to me the property tax issue alone is a sufficient deal breaker. The loss of tax revenue for this exempted “recycling facility” is significant, and Ken Allison’s disingenuous actions are even more significant. As one of your constituents, I am asking you not to fall for it.