Assessment by Robert A. Williams
Is Cleveland County Broke? The short answer is YES!!!
Editor’s Note: Don’t believe a word until you hear it from the horse’s mouth. Watch and listen to County Manager Jeff Richardson (at the Commissioner’s workshop last Tuesday) inform the Cleveland County Commissioners they have to keep a freeze on county employee wages. According to the County Manager Cleveland County cannot afford to pay employees according to the county wage scales that are presently in place and have been in place for years.
You might ask, how can this be? The Commissioners have been spending money like drunken sailors for years. Why, they just sold the county hospitals and healthcare system for $100 million about a year ago and never paid a dime on any county debt or passed any of the hospital sale money back to the people who owned the hospitals, the citizens of Cleveland County. Where did all that money go?
Hey, wait a minute. Besides selling the hospitals, the Commissioners built the LeGrand Center and borrowed over $20 million in bonds for that. They gave millions to DCC for the Earl Scruggs Center over the past several years. Many more millions in taxpayer dollars went to the Economic Development bureaucracy, where everything is a secret. Millions of dollars in incentives to pay companies tens of thousand of dollars per job, most jobs at minimum wage pay. The Commissioners bought in on the Shelby Airport and put out millions for that. They are building a $1 million shooting range. $23 million for a new Mental Health and Health Department addition to the DSS campus. They give money to everybody that comes through the door with their hands out at the commissioners meetings and probably somewhere else too. It goes on and on. So, how can the county be broke? And, who has been asleep at the wheel while all this spending was going on? (Go look in the mirror to see one of the ones who has been asleep at the wheel.)
On top of that, Commissioners have refused to re-evaluate property values while property values were down for the last 6-8 years to keep up the tax revenue without having to increase the tax rate which would have alerted the people of a spending problem. Even with that Commissioners were spending more that they were bringing in for years and have been dipping into state mandated reserve funds to make up the difference. Taxpayers have been paying more than they should have been paying and the 700-800 county employees have been paid less , for years, than they should have been paid. Taxpayers and county employees have been toting the note for the tax and spend commissioners. The scams just keep on keeping on.
All the while, the Shelby Star has been reporting on how good a job the Commissioners have been doing. The School Board too as the Star was recently paid $250,000 or so by the Cleveland County Schools for billboards and other such worthless nonsense.
Wake up Cleveland County!!! The answer to this is start anew with a new set of commissioners. Single-shot vote for Willie McIntosh for Commissioner on Election Day-November 4th, 2014. We can get rid of three more Commissioners in 2016. Be sure to vote on Election Day this year and run for office in 2016.
If anybody wants to know more about the details of the wasteful spending mentioned in this article, leave a comment and more details will be provided. Better yet, call the Commissioners and the County Manager with your questions. Then make your comment for the truth of the matter.
Folks, Stay tuned!!! And don’t forget to Single Shot vote for Willie McIntosh for Commissioner on Election Day. Take someone with you. Better yet, take a carload with you.