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Letter to the Editor: Wasting Taxpayer Money

I was so pleased to go onto your website as I do regularly and see some genuine “hard” news in the form of your report of the happenings at the recent Emporia City Council meeting.

Public notices and such perform a service of sorts, depending upon their source and content; sometimes, though, particularly with regard to meetings of local governing bodies, it is even more of a public service to report to local residents and taxpayers the actions and inactions of those they elect to serve and represent them.

The best example of that was the report of the discussion about the under-performance of the Greensville County public transportation system, which city council was duped into joining in and contributing to when provided with low-ball estimates as to how much it would cost city taxpayers. So now it turns out that the cost to the city is close to 10 times what it was estimated to be. Wisely, city council voted to serve notice that it would be withdrawing from the agreement as soon as contractually possible.

I recall so well having told my wife—and she recalls it—that the city council and the county board of supervisors were both being taken for a ride of their own when they embarked upon this venture.  As is the case so often these days, consultants are too often hired to do what elected officials are paid to do and decide whether a project supposedly for the benefit of those they serve is worthwhile or not. This one was not, which I knew from the outset. Both governing bodies should have known better. Consultants should have, too. Your report did not mention it, but I would be curious to know if the board of supervisors had gone back and questioned the wisdom of their recommendation. Also, if it cost city taxpayers that much more than expected, how much are their counterparts in the county having to shell out?

Of course, it could be argued that the reason the venture has failed is primarily the result of less-than-expected ridership. But shouldn’t the folks who recommended the system have taken into account the prevailing factors at the time that contributed to that?

If I were still a county taxpayer, I would be disturbed by this waste of my tax dollars. But to take that a step further, if I had been elected to the county governing body when I ran, and if  I had voted to go ahead with this project in the first place, I would be irate!

It is one thing to waste your own money; it is even worse to waste someone else’s.

Keith W. Mitchell
Charlotte, NC

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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