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Reader’s Forum 11-1-13

Commissioners should vote against solar farm

 This is addressed to our Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. On Monday night, Nov. 4, you will be voting on a proposal that will impact a very large community for years to come. The proposal before you is to allow a solar farm on property located on Webb’s Road in Denver. This area is surrounded by homes and beautiful landscaping. The two largest subdivisions that will be effected the most are Sailview and Lakewood. These homes’ price range starts in the $400,000s and go as high as $2 million.

Several potential sales have already fallen through because of this potential solar farm. When each one of you were elected you won your seat by the majority vote. I don’t think you would be sitting on the board with only 3-5 percent of the vote. This proposed project is opposed by 95-97 percent of the people living in this area. Only 3-5 percent of the people support the proposal. How in your right mind can you vote for something that only 3-5 percent are in favor of? We already know of one commissioner who will vote for the proposal and should not even be allowed to participate in this meeting. Commissioner Carroll Mitchem was seen in a restaurant in Lincolnton the night after the first meeting about this proposal having dinner with the Strata Solar President and their attorney. A picture of the three was in a paper here in Denver last week. If this is not a conflict of interest, then conflict of interest does not exist. Mitchem should not be allowed to vote or participate in this meeting. I think the North Carolina Attorney General’s office would also agree. This is not good county government. The majority elected you into office to serve the majority of Lincoln County citizens, not the minority. All Lincoln County citizens need to be paying attention to the outcome of this meeting. If the County Commissioners allow this solar farm to be built, it can happen to anyone in the County. If you only need 3-5 percent of the people’s approval, anything can happen. I respectfully ask along with 95-97 percent of the homeowners and land owners in this area to reject this proposal. Thank You.

Jeff Huffman


Give mayor the help he needs

 Well, the infamous trash tax is gone, kaput, wiped out! But be not deceived. This only happened due to the outrage of the citizens and an upcoming election.  There will be a tax of another kind because the real problem with the budget has not been addressed by the city manager or the present council.

Their mindset was clearly demonstrated by their initial decision of reducing the trash tax by half.  But misjudging the anger of the citizenry and fearing their candidates would reap the results of their actions, they relented and canceled the tax entirely.  If it was not an election year, I have no doubt that this would have never happened.

The truth of the matter is the council needs to bite the bullet and instruct the city manager to address the systemic problems with the budget. It is not sustainable without some major changes. In addition, as Dr. Bill Hitt pointed out in his recent letter to the paper, our tax rate of 56 cents per hundred is the highest of most neighboring cities.

What we need is a new beginning. A new start. And that means a council that is in the driver’s seat, not just a passenger.

We can do better by giving our fine mayor the help he needs, by electing Devin Rhyne and Jay Thomas to the council.

Make your vote count on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Charles Eurey


Letter writers stretch the truth

 During an election season, you expect writers supporting particular candidates to stretch or interpret the truth to make their point. However, the recent letter by Dawn Senter is one of the most inaccurate of all this year’s submittals. Councilman Devin Rhyne has not made a motion to lower the tax rate since his first year in office. As a matter of public record, Mayor John Gilleland and Councilman Rhyne were ardent supporters of the original county contracts that would have increased city taxes by over 4 cents during the next five years. If there had been those “3” when the contracts were first introduced, they would have been approved on party lines and your taxes would have increased for the 20-year duration of those contracts! The work on the Police Department building has not even been discussed in over a year due to lack of funding. It is noteworthy to acknowledge that, since no work was done to this building, the city was forced to rent an additional building to accommodate police services. Councilman Rhyne was the chief proponent of not buying the large recycling bins this year, causing the city to lose a $75,000 grant to help offset those costs. As a result, the city was unable to switch recycling to every other week pick-up, minimizing any earnings from the program, eliminating the capability of picking up cardboard and causing employees of the street department to be used to support the weekly recycling pick-up. This fall, as your leaves pile up in the streets waiting for removal, remember Councilman Rhyne, because the street department will be picking up bottles rather than your leaves! Finally, those in attendance at the meetings heard Councilman Rhyne repeat time and time again that the employees’ compensation needed to be reduced as a means of generating money to offset the repeal of the garbage collection fee. I don’t know where Ms. Senter is getting her information but I think she accepts the idea of “it takes 3” to mislead the public.

Joanna M. Underwood

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