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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Heading to Kabuki Theater tonight

Opening act begins at 5:30pm at City Hall in Council Chambers. The Inspiring Spaces Committee is meeting together with the City Council.  The purpose of this Special Joint Meeting is the presentation of the Advisory Committee's Final Report for the Inspiring Spaces Project.

The goal here is to make it look like Hickory Inc. has a plan. Last year Mayor Wright, Alderman Guess, and Alder Patton said they were not in favor of raising property taxes for 2013-14, because "we don't have a plan." The real reason was because they were facing re-election in a few months. So here we come to the night when the City Manager will present the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2014-15.. Everybody knows what is going on here. The truth is that they have no more of a plan here than what they had last year.

In my opinion, the Inspiring Spaces presentation is to set up what will take place during the second act, which is the regularly scheduled second meeting of the Hickory City Council for the month of May, in which the City Manager will present the proposed property tax increase for the upcoming year. The Inspiring Spaces meeting is to give you the reasoning for the tax increase and the City Manager is going to reemphasize that reasoning. Truth be told, the City Manager is the one behind, and fully vested in, the reasoning.

I have presumed, based upon information I was given and information provided involving this committee, that the City Manager will be requesting a significant property tax increase for City of Hickory associated properties. The majority of these revenues will be devoted to the Inspiring Spaces initiative.

My cynical side envisions the City Manager asking for a 15¢ property tax increase to 65¢ per $100 and the Mayor and other Council members saying that is too much and pulling back to 10¢, or 60¢ per $100, under the guise that they are protecting residents they know will have a difficult time with such an increase.

That is why I call this Kabuki Theater, because these folks are on the same page going into this meeting. This will be a show like so many manufactured plots we have seen before. They already know what is going down. It will still be entertaining to witness, because this has all the makings of a political drama in the coming months that will make the Referendum on Ward Specific Voting and last year's municipal election look like peanuts.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that no tax should be increased in the name of Inspiring Spaces until a referendum takes place that establishes that it is what the public wants.

The proposed property tax increase coming on Tuesday night - 5/16/2014
Rudy and the City Council want to and will raise your taxes - 11/1/2013
The Complete "Platform for a 21st Century Hickory" - 8/31/2013

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