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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The following is the full video presentation of last night's City Council meeting. The Highlights came when Larry Pope addressed the Council about the City Council forms relating to conflicts of interest (19:10 mark of the meeting) that he has requested. The City officials only provided the information up to the year 2008 and Mr. Pope wants the most recent information provided up until 2012.
The other Highlight came when Alder Sally Fox (47:00 mark of the meeting) spoke up and voted against the Budget for 2013-14, because it provides no property increase to initiate the funding for Inspiring Spaces and to repair the roads in the area that the City Manager has addressed in the last two meetings relating to this budget.
The Hound: Sally Fox should be commended for taking a stand on this issue. This time her heart and head are both in the right place. Others pointed out that there needs to be a full plan in place relating to Inspiring Spaces; but as Sally pointed out, most of the recommendations in the Inspiring Spaces initiatives come from City Plans, such as Hickory By Choice, that have been shelved for years. She talked about how businesses invest in communities that invest in themselves and all we do is talk and nothing ever happens.
There is an election coming up later this year and I believe, as I have been stating here, that this is the main reason why no property tax increase was introduced into this years budget. As Danny Seaver stated, "A 1-cent increase in the property tax equates to a $10 annual increase on a $100,000 property."
Hickory Inc. is going to have to deal with something they have brought onto themselves in relation to the property tax. They have sold it to the middle class that they have been looking out for their interests by not raising the property tax rate, but even most of the people at the bottom have said in the past that they would be willing to pay a little more if they agreed with the initiative. They said this about aquatic recreation. The dirty little secret is that it is the major property owners that haven't wanted to see property rate increases. Like Alderman Seaver said, $10 on a $100,000 house or $20 if the rate were raised 2-cents. You know that isn't what this is all about. This is all about the people who have $100 million in properties and they don't want to pay an additional $10,000 per year in property tax, but those are the first people that will benefit from the additional investments that spur development and let's be frank, for years they are the ones who have stood in the way of progress in the community.
Sally should be commended for her courage in opening this can of worms, because it is a necessary discussion as we move forward. She spoke about the Business Improvement Districts. Alderman Lail has spoken about this issue in the past. That is what bigger cities have done to spur development in their Downtown's, but this community has had vested interests that have stood in the way of that happening too. The Status Quo is great if you are on top, but what about the rest of us?