Reader letters, June 17

Jun 17, 2013

Maggie’s budget raises questions

To the editor:

November 2010 Maggie elections seated a group promising to “downsize government, spur the economy, be transparent, and lower taxes.”

In their fervor to fulfill promises, they cut incoming revenues to a degree threatening to bankrupt the town. While restraining public service, they seek revenue to subsidize the Festival Ground - a venue serving to benefit few motels and restaurants while offering nothing to the majority of Maggie taxpayers.

Sound small town government is founded on good economic practice and visionary planning — not ideologies and sound bites.

Maggie has a Public Hearing (June 19) for the 2013-2014 Budget.

The Town’s Budget is a 43 page, line-item, detailed plan, requiring months of meetings with input from every town employee. Prior to viewing the Town’s Budget, two board members turned in their half-page, handwritten budget, from “their supporters” ... apparently unaware of NC State Law that, “aldermen and mayors are elected as non-partisan (no political group), at large (non representative of precincts/wards/special interest groups), informed stewards of local tax revenues.”

The above aldermen propose (1) no purchase of Police and Public Works equipment - for another year, (2) further cuts in Police and Public Works Department budgets, (3) no cost-of-living increase for town employees - along with 1 0% further reduction, (4) repair, rather than replace dated town vehicles, (5) pay increases for themselves, (6) $180,000 to Festival Grounds and startup costs for their “spur to the economy,” Winter Woods, (early estimates in excess of 1/2 million) serving even fewer taxpayers.

Maggie’S Festival Grounds were primarily purchased with property owner revenue - as a common space for the citizens of the Valley - not as a life-line for struggling businesses. This property is now fenced off, gated, and locked. We may enter, if we pay a fee, along with other visitors to the valley.

Board members are to abide by Public Purpose Limitations.s. Section 2(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

Tax revenues are for public service, not for a tourist agency. I call for the board to return to the job for which they were elected - serving all taxpayers and following state law.

June Johnson

Maggie Valley

Don’t be shocked about  privacy loss

To the editor:

I just read an AP article about the guy who let the world know that the U.S. Government has the capacity to spy on us. I was going to recommend the article on Facebook and got asked to approve AP using the GPS data and pictures and contacts on Facebook.

I am that we are shocked. We demanded the Patriot Act and got it in October 2001.  Not to put too fine a point on it “An Act to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes,” are actual words of the title.

Way back then I was predicting such an outcome and not one legislator paid me any heed.

So I guess it’s no surprise that the current anthill of legislators in DC are so in the dark about this law that they can actually in good conscience demand that the administration answer for this abuse.

I hope they have the sense to repeal the Patriot Act now and get back to the business of caring for our nation by using good judgement and common sense. Probably not -— sigh.

Penny Wallace