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August 3, 2012
Questions for Pamlico County Citizens
At two recent meetings of county government and business leaders some comments I heard have left me perplexed. No names will be mentioned here, just the statements.
1. At a board meeting a person said that taxes were too high, they should be lowered, we should get rid of the community college and we should increase our tax base and do more with economic development.
So I’m wondering how we cut government services in the health, education, welfare and recreation areas and at the same time compete with other counties to attract new businesses and home owners? Isn’t the wish of this taxpayer the opposite of the need for development? Do we actually think people will come here if we have fewer services to offer? Last, are we really going to have greater economic development possibilities without a community college which can and should drive economic development? How does that work?
2. At another meeting I heard one business person suggest that if we wanted to attract and keep young people we need to provide services and places for them to go. A government official then said that we can’t offer the salaries that other counties pay and that the kind of person who comes to the county to work really wants to come here in spite of low salaries. Furthermore it was suggested that the government’s role is not to spend money on services for young people short of a recreation league or two and that services for young people need to come from the private sector.
So my question is this. If there aren’t jobs that pay well and there are only a few of them and there are no services forthcoming from anybody with a plan to provide them, what hope is there for attracting these young people that the same leaders want to have come here? A plan without action is a wish. And wishes don’t attract new development opportunities.
3. Another government official was proud of the fact that there was basically no zoning in the county and that “advantage” could attract new business. But I wonder how many more businesses would come here if we had zoning connected to smart growth so that an investment in property and infrastructure by a small business owner would not ruined by the “junk” store that builds next door?
4. Has anyone noticed that the population of the county has remained flat since the last census in 2000? (If we didn’t count the “new” prison population the numbers would be down from 2000.)
5. Finally, how’s that same old way of doing things working out?
The writer is a candidate for Pamlico County Commissioner, District 2
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