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Appreciate for Kevin Starr

I am so glad you wrote an article about Kevin Starr. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t like to call attention to himself, but I’m sure I speak for everyone who has ever taken the Master Gardener class when I say he is an unsung hero. He is a wealth of information and is always eager to help anyone with questions about gardening, planting and growing just about anything.

I am one of many people who took the class several times because we learned more every time we took it! We will certainly miss him, but we wish him well in his much deserved retirement.

Deborah Beck

Iron Station


Editor’s Note: The Times-News published an article in our Oct. 18 edition detailing Starr’s decision to retire from the Cooperative Extension at the end of the year.


Beyond the trash tax

For 19 years I dutifully paid my Lincolnton property taxes, without so much as contacting a City Councilman much less attending a Council meeting. That all changed dramatically with the institution of the ill-fated Trash Tax. Now the proverbial cat is out of the bag. When this tax was foisted upon the citizens of Lincolnton, I began to search for the reasoning behind such a move by our City Council.

What I discovered was that the Trash Tax was not the problem, but only a symptom. Ask any person with a chronic illness if they are pleased when a symptom is alleviated and they will answer yes, but what they really want is for the underlying chronic illness to be eradicated.

Some facts regarding our city — #1: It took 209 years for our budget to grow from 0 to $14 million and only a mere 18 years for the budget to double to $28 million. #2: Here are the tax rates for all municipalities with populations between 4,000 and 13,000 for Catawba, Gaston and Cleveland counties: Dallas .38, Kings Mtn .40, Bessemer City .43, Shelby .43, Cherryville .44, Cramerton .47 Newton .48 and our rate .56! We are #1 and not in a good way!

The Trash Tax was not the disease, but only a symptom. The chronic disease is an ever burgeoning, incessantly increasing budget.  As long as we continue to elect a majority lockstep, rubberstamp City Council then this budget disease will continue to fester and symptoms like the Trash Tax will continue to crop up or our already burdensome tax rate will rise.

It is up to us to stop this budgetary disease and elect a fiscally responsible City Council.

The Trash Tax was not repealed out of some sudden sense of generosity by our City Council. That was made clear by Councilman Hovis (who made the motion to repeal the tax) when he stated that the tax was “fair and necessary.”  The reason for the repeal was the power of the people. The citizens of Lincolnton kept the heat up long enough to, for once, have our collective voices heard. Yes, this includes the now famous “Trash the Tax” cans. They stand as a testament to the power of the people. Without the public outcry there is no doubt the entire tax would still be intact. Let’s be sure we make our voices heard again, on Election Day!

Bill Hitt


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