Tryon Township residents are not freeloaders

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To the Editor:

We appreciate Jeff Byrds informative article in the Bulletin on Wednesday, December 30th, A decade of controversies for Tryon and would like to comment on a couple of things from that.

In the article it was shared that, To fix the budget, Mayor Neely and the council also cut three police positions and another in the streets and sanitation department. They refinanced a fire truck loan and asked Harmon Field to pay an additional $30,000 a year for town maintenance services. &bsp;

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We would like to emphasize here that Harmon Field is paid for in taxes by all citizens of the township of Tryon thus the township is helping the town of Tryon by these taxes paid. When Tryon first inherited the field for the purpose of recreation for children, the whole township voted to support the field by taxes.

If Harmon Field is paying anything to support the towns maintenance, all of the township citizens are paying for this. Further, one would assume that the equipment owned by Harmon Field may be being used on Ziglar Field as well. Those in the township may be also contributing to that upkeep as well. &bsp;

It is interesting to consider that the strict covenant of Harmon Field Foundation would even allow for this fund to be used by other purposes than Harmon Field.

Another statement shared in the article, A total of $100,000 of Clean Water Management Trust grant funds and $177,000 of state Powell Bill street maintenance funds had been misused to cover the towns routine expenses. These funds were now gone and would have to be repaid. &bsp;

We would like it to be noted that everyone in the county contributes to the Powell Bill funds through gas tax revenues given back to the towns for street maintenance based on the number of paved miles, so if these funds were misused, the citizens of the township of Tryon had already contributed to Tryon in this way.

Further, another clarification we would like to make refers to this statement from the article, Town officials noted that the detailed budget analysis they had just been through showed the water and sewer department had been losing money, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that the taxpayers had been subsidizing the services through the general fund. The source of mercury in the costly ACA suit, defended with the towns general funds, had been found at an outside customers premises. &bsp;

Our thoughts here are that the township residents that buy water from Tryon, do so at two and one half times the rate of what city residents pay for the water. If the error causing the mercury originated outside of the city limits of Tryon, those outsiders were paying more for the water already and many thought they were paying for safe water. If Tryon had tested for mercury, they would have found the error before the American Canoe Association did and avoided the legal fees.&bsp; &bsp;

As to the possibility of anyone in the township having sewer service, it is doubtful since some within the city limits still may not have sewer service and perhaps are happy with their septic tanks.

It is our sincere hope that Tryon does reconcile their finances and become the friendly town that outsiders will want to patronize.&bsp; With the current councils rescinding of the annexation, the ground work for this has surely begun. Yet, there is still a bone of contention that needs to be addressed. &bsp;

In reading about the actions of CAFA, citizens against forced annexation, it has been left out that the town council doing the annexing made some strong comments as well about the township residents being freeloaders in their justification for the forced annexations. Of the 25% registered voters of Tryon that elected Wim Woody and Doug Arbogast, let us not forget those in the annexation areas that could not vote.&bsp; &bsp;

The economists books and the League of Municipalities give theories to justify forcing those in the suburbs to pay their fair share and obviously Tryon officials stated the same thing to the outsiders here.

Hopefully we have shown in this letter that those in the township of Tryon are not freeloaders. Hopefully we can be invited to shop in Tryon without the risk of being called freeloaders now. Further, perhaps our ideas to help solve the towns financial problems will be as considered as the forced taxes and forced sewer and trash service have been.

With that, we might suggest that Tryon sell Harmon Field to the county and obtain the whole countys support of the public recreation facility and use the money to help settle their accounts. Further, Tryon could sell the bottom of Lake Lanier and allow the county to provide the good water of Lake Adger for Tryon residents. This would give Tryon additional money to pay off their bad debt and pay for proper police and sanitation and mending their old sewer system. &bsp;

If Tryon does not set a good example in working with the higher county government on things like this, how can Tryon expect outsiders to be willing to work with them for the good of the whole?

Finally, if this article appears in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, how could anyone accuse Jeff Byrd of ever being unfair?&bsp; We sincerely appreciate the free speech we have been allowed to express in this newspaper. Cheers to the Bulletin.

Ted and Julie Perkins