To the citizens of Macon County,
I’ve had several people ask me why I voted against this or that. It’s time to clear the air and let you folks know all the other stuff that goes on. First off, I do try to get along with my fellow commissioners so long as I feel it’s good for the taxpayers. I have tried three years in a row to lower our property tax rate. Two years in a row I voted for the budgets. Our budgets are loaded with numbers and details which are sometimes tricky to get a handle on. However, in this year’s budget here’s just a few of the items I had problems with:
A couple weeks ago I read another uninformed person's Letter to the Editor saying we needed to keep the county pay scale up to minimum pay like other nearby counties. Actually, I would support targeted pay raises that would accomplish just that but sorry friend, that was not the problem.
That pay study was not compared to our nearby counties. It was compared to three counties near the coast. One case in point: Watauga County up near Virginia which has 239 employees and 69,000 citizens compared to Macon County who has about 418 employees, and 35,000 citizens more or less. Do the math. Watauga has twice the population and half the employees. This is no comparison. Another was Transylvania County near Asheville. Asheville is urban which again, is not a good comparison. None of these comparisons even included the fringe benefits Macon County pays which were higher than all the others. I also asked for a comparison to Cherokee, Swain, Jackson, Clay, Rabun and Graham counties but never got it probably because that wouldn't fit the plan either.
We are going to be confronted with a $300,000 or more proposal to widen the Macon County Airport runway. I voted last year for $230,000 as part of a grant to repave it. I was told about all the money this airport makes annually. If it makes all this money, why are we asked every year to fund $200,000 or more?
These are only a few of the reasons I vote the way I do. I am not running down my fellow commissioners for how they vote. However, I didn't pledge to the citizens to follow a big spending plan. I said I would be conservative and that is how I have voted.
I know some don't worry about the taxpayer. They just want us commissioners to spend. Sorry, I am not going back on my word. It’s hard sometimes to be a “true conservative” who looks out for the taxpayers’ money with an economy in the ditch and when everyone else seems to be looking for ways to spend it. I wish more folks would attend meetings and get the facts before speaking. If you can’t make the meetings then at least watch them on video at thunderpigblog. blogspot.com/. That way you can at least see and hear most of what happens. I hope this helps you all see just a few of the things that go on that you don’t always read about in the newspapers.
Commissioner, Ron Haven — Franklin, N.C.