Archived Story

What’s growing? Weeds and debt

Published 6:22pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To the Editor:

“WATCH OUT CHOWAN COUNTY HERE WE COME!!!” would have been the battle cry of the citizens and taxpayers of Gates County if we were still under the tax and spend leadership of Mr. Twine and former County Manager Chappell.

Regarding his recent letter to the editor, Mr. Twine fails to mention the $2 million plus sewer debt that was established during his term in office. He went on to spell out how certain inter/county departments were not being funded adequately, but gave no solution of how to fund them or to lay out a plan to repay the debt that was incurred during his tenure. How do we repay this debt with less than 10 customers on the sewer line and three of them are county buildings?

One question that continues to go unanswered is if the sewer system was so important for progress in the county then why was it that Family Dollar built in Sunbury. The growth of business that you promised for Merchants Commerce Center, where is it? What I see growing is weeds and debt.

The county liability in the commerce center grows every day with the apparent no show of business. How are we to repay the rural center “Claw Backs” when the owner has approached two farmers in the area to plant Soybeans on the non developed areas? Surely this is not the progress that we all heard and were promised in 2008 to present.

The three players in this fiasco are nowhere to be found.  Mr. Twine was not reelected; Mr. Olds sold out to his partner; and Mr. Chappell flew south to a new job. There is nobody, other than the 12,197 people who make up Gates County, that are going to be held accountable for this mess. The three amigos are adios and we are left holding the bag.

Complacency of our current elected officials and County Manager Mendenhall is far from the truth. It is apparent that someone has recognized the fact that Gates County was a “SHIP WRECK” waiting to happen. If not for recognizing these issues we would be like Chowan County, spending beyond our means with no plan for repayment.

Better yet we have a balanced budget, have not used our fund balance to do it, like a couple of neighboring counties, and are paying down debt.  I for one have not had a merit raise since 2009. Should local, state or federal employees expect more than the working class of America is getting just because they are a government employee?

Vision can be defined as “a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation” this is what we had prior to December 2012. As a taxpayer I hope in the future that we think through our visions before we act on someone else’s anticipation.

Chuck Brothers

Gates

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