Stunning discovery – startling revelation

Published 9:17 am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It’s my job as a reporter to make each and every attempt to try to know, or at least understand, a little about everything that transpires in the four counties of the Roanoke-Chowan area.

I feel I’ve done a fair job of reaching that goal, despite being surprised on several occasions along the way with information I had failed to pick up on.

On Monday morning while manning the reporter’s desk inside the Hertford County Commissioners meeting room, I was surprised – no, make that stunned – to learn something new.

It appears that at least three members of that elected board are liberal minded when it comes to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars – which would include the “four-figure” dollar amount I pay every year for a homestead and a small farm.

In a time that calls for squeezing every single penny that is received and expended from the county’s coffers, three board members opted to fund two educational entities in Hertford County above and beyond the money they already receive.

On Monday morning, a 3-2 vote swung the favor to the approval of the county’s 2011-12 fiscal year budget, a financial package that takes affect July 1.

In addition to the FOUR MILLION, ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR dollars of local taxpayer money they will receive in the new budget, Hertford County Public Schools evidently needed another 100 grand to make things work.

In addition to SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE dollars that Hertford County taxpayers so graciously send over to Roanoke-Chowan Community College on a yearly basis, officials there wanted $25,000 more. Actually, they asked for an additional $105,000, but said they would be okay with just 25 grand. Perhaps the “Greenville Express” didn’t need as much as an upgrade as first thought necessary.

Meanwhile, those pesky little Hertford County local government department heads had the gall to ask for additional funds to ensure that the level of services to the county citizens are maintained. How dare they ask for a new shelf; or a new computer; or a new printer. Let it fall on the floor; hand-write what’s needed.

The Sheriff told me he was in need of four new vehicles. He’s getting two, but not from the General Fund budget; rather from the E-911 Fund (the one built through a tax surcharge we all pay monthly on our phone bills).

I can only hope that upon calling the Sheriff’s Office because some low life is breaking into my home and threatening me and my family that the responding deputy has a reliable vehicle to rush to my aid.

Gee, I wonder if it breaks down en route, could I contact the school system or RCCC to come to my aid.

On Monday morning, three commissioners – Curtis Freeman, Ronald Gatling and Bill Mitchell – lost my confidence in being good stewards of my tax money. In doing so, they lost my vote.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal