Published 9:33 pm Thursday, September 10, 2015

To the editor:


Common sense, a wise man once said, isn’t common. This may never be more true than in the continuing soap opera-like performance of our board of commissioners (BOC) majority.

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Here are a few examples: Our returning county manager, after fulfilling his military duty, was paid to resign by them at a taxpayer cost close to $200K. The acting county manager, the only person who ran for office on their slate and lost, was made permanent in this position. A consultant was brought in to prepare an economic development strategy, and was hired in a contract position after naming his own salary. The director and several members of the volunteer Economic and Tourism Development Commission, including the chair, have resigned in frustration over not having their recommendations acted on. These actions by the BOC majority were taken despite strong adverse public opinion; none pass the test of common sense.


Now we have a contract being pushed by the BOC majority where Inman Campobello Water District (ICWD) would supply Polk County our drinking water in return for 75 years of guaranteed access to Lake Adger raw water and vaguely specified dam repairs. The people of Polk County have asked the commissioners to retain water resources and legal experts to review the contract and advise them on the costs and benefits to the county over time. The majority has refused to do so even with both the county manager and county attorney indicating they could benefit from this review.


On Aug. 13, Chairman Pack, in a private informational meeting attended by the BOC majority, explained that if this contract were not approved, county taxes would be raised to pay for repairs to the dam and dredge sediment from the lake. The majority has severely reduced setting aside money in each year’s budget for dam repair such that the reserve is substantially less than originally intended. The (dam) chickens have come home to roost!


Chair Pack went on to describe that the actual water being removed by ICWD would only be a minor fraction of the lake’s average inflow. Didn’t the county purchase Lake Adger as an insurance policy during an extended drought? During these conditions Lake Adger’s inflow would be significantly less, and the removal by ICWD, a much greater percentage.


There has been continued and substantive urging from the public, including past commissioners, to get expert advice and apply due diligence before going forward with this contract. This urging has been repeatedly ignored.


Chair Pack suggested in the Aug. 13 meeting that the people who are questioning moving blindly forward on this contract are “crazy liberals.” That is simply not true. So much for “government of the people, by the people, and for the people …”


What has happened to common sense? Why are we treated by our county leaders as undeserving of being heard? I admit I don’t know whether this is a “good” contract for Polk County people; I am opposed as are many other residents, of all political views, of approving it without expert review.


Dennis Hill
Green Creek, N.C.