To the Editor:
While I recognize that The Smoky Mountain News’ annual year in review awards are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the “Longwinded Award,” which reflects on the proposed annexation of Lake Junaluska by the town of Waynesville, misses the mark and, in my belief, misleads readers into the key issue on why the proposal which was presented to the N.C. General Assembly failed to pass.
Lake Junaluska went out of its way to ensure a full and transparent discussion of the issue of annexation. Yes, everyone was given multiple chances to have a voice in the discussion, and all were provided on-line access to minutes of the formal discussions. Those results were also fully reported on in the local print news media.
To even “tongue-in-cheek” call it longwinded does not fairly represent the process, the persons who were involved, or the question of whether or not a consensus was reached. In fact, the comprehensive survey done of all the homeowners resulted in a clear preference for annexation by a 2 to 1 margin.
When a select few of the opposition to annexation — people who had more than ample opportunity (and did) voice their concerns during the public discussions — lost their argument when viewed in the results of the survey, they went to the legislature and found what certainly appeared to be an ideologically driven General Assembly House of Representative to take up and effectively stop even a vote on annexation in the House (after a fully supportive vote to approve annexation had passed in the Senate).
This now leaves Lake Junaluska homeowners with higher out-of-pocket infrastructure costs (with even higher costs potentially coming, as the SMN noted in the closing words of the “Longwinded Award” article).
For Lake Junaluska to be fiscally sustainable and to be able to meet current and future needs, the annexation was, and remains, a critical issue.
I would urge all those persons who see the need for change to speak out and support the bill for annexation in the upcoming short session of the General Assembly.
It is truly not a laughing matter but a very serious one with lasting economic consequences hanging in the balance.
Lake Junaluska Homeowner