K-ville Midnight Spending Vote!

The Kernersville Board of Aldermen held
a major spending vote this past Tuesday night, at MIDNIGHT, so sit
tight on your wallet.  It is only a matter of time before the bill for this under the radar largesse comes due.
Four weeks ago the Board approved
$135,000 to rebuild three porches around the historic Korner’s Folly.
Evidently feel’n their oats, Tuesday’s vote approved over one million
in NEW city debt.
As it turns out, three bank owned
property’s located downtown on Main Street, between Harmon House and
the Library, were waiting to go on the inevitable auction
block…until the Board of Alderman caught wind. Citing the need for
a office space to accommodate town engineering staff (and future plans
for a 40,000 square foot government office building), the Board went into closed session for the purpose of discussion regarding “land purchase.”  This session lasted approximately 20 minutes. It has not been confirmed the specific properties referenced in this article were the properties discussed. The Board then opened the session to the public, conducted various business on the agenda and voted at MIDNIGHT to purchase the properties. 
Because of the late hour, much of the public had made their leave and only a few were present to argue against the debt burden this placed on tax paying city
residents during the worst economy since the Great Depression.   
This is an example of what most folks would
call a less than transparent lock out of public discussion on a
matter of public interest.
In a vote of 4 to 1, the board agreed to
purchase all three bank owned properties plus adjoining property
owned by Harry Boles (local attorney). The only Board member who
stood against this breach of the public trust was Keith Hooker. Dana Caudill Jones, Irving Neal, Neal Stockton, and Tracey Shifflette all supported the land purchase.  All ran as Conservatives.

First Citizens Bank owned the
foreclosed properties and will receive close to full appraised value
for the properties. Quite a deal for the bank in these tough times
shackled with property slated for the auction block. Harry Boles
received full appraised value.
Several other items on the agenda were
approved. A $184,000 property purchase was approved for a new fire
station on the South side of town. All five members present approved
this expense. Finally, the board approved a grant application to
cover 80% of the cost of improvements to South Main and Old Winston
Road. After the meeting, when questioned about the implication to the citizens of the grant application, Alderman Keith Hooker stated, “The
total cost would be 1.8 million…what if we don’t get the grant?”
The Board plans to replenish the city
funds used to purchase the properties through a property loan. This
loan will add to the municipal debt service, which translates into
higher taxes. Additionally, since the city now owns the property,
the nearly $5,000 dollars a year in property tax revenue is dropped
from the books.  This saves First Citizens Bank $5,000 a year with a net
loss to the city of the same amount.
Town Manager Curtis Swisher indicated
employee gas expenses would be reduced as a result of the relocation
of city offices into this new property. 
With these gas savings, we
should have enough left over to finance that 40,000 square foot four
million dollar government building they have planned.
We thought the new fees for yard waste pickup was bad. Sheesh. Those were the good ole’ days. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *