To the Editor:
Over the course of the past year or so our Jackson County commissioner have been faced with a number of difficult decisions including salary raises for county employees, the Dillsboro dam and new mountain ordinances while keeping our taxes third lowest in the state. Those reasonable, responsive and thoughtful commissioners are Brian McMahan running for re-election as Jackson County commission chairman, Tom Massie, commission vice chairman and William Shelton, commissioner.
The Tea Party is supporting candidates (according to yard signs they appear to be Jack Debnam and Cody Elders) this year. At the Home Builders Association meeting in Cashiers not long ago their only solutions were to audit county programs, evidentially unaware the county conducts an annual audit. They also advocated spending $1 million to conduct an off-year revaluation of property and spending $4 million to complete the community center while advocating a rollback in property tax revenues and county services.
As one candidate put it “county employees are a drag on our economy.” They were critical of the purchase of sparkling new vehicles by the county only to be reminded by our commissioners the vehicles had not been purchased as part of the 10 percent reduction in county expenditures enacted over the past year. They were critical of not using local contractors for a building project at Southwestern Community College only to be reminded the project is a community college project not a county project.
I am sure these folks supported by the Tea Party crowd mean well and care as much for our county as we all do. However, they tend to offer misleading messages and simple solutions to complex county problems. Their solutions include cutting taxes, reducing the size of government, eliminating county services and turning stewardship of our mountains and rivers over to private enterprises, many of whom would treat our mountains like coal mine operators treat the mountains of West Virginia.
We can elect these well-meaning conservatives who appear dedicated to reducing services and personnel or we can return Brian McMahan, Tom Massie and William Shelton for reasonable, responsive and thoughtful stewardship of our tax dollars and county resources.