Harkers Island, N.C.
TO THE EDITOR:
I am quite perplexed at your decision to donate $62,916.50 of Carteret County's taxpayer money to Hyde County for dredging in the Big Foot Slough of the Pamlico Sound. If my calculations are correct, Hyde County is contributing absolutely nothing to this dredging project at all. Yet here Carteret County is footing the balance of the bill because it's the neighborly thing to do.
Wow, that seems overwhelmingly kind of you fellas. Yet, at the same time it definitely is very concerning. I also read that Hyde County is going to "support Carteret County's efforts in seeking reimbursement of the local match from the state legislature." Goodness, that just doesn't sound like an iron-clad guarantee that we will be getting reimbursement from Hyde County to me. I know Hyde County has been through quite a lot, but then again so have many residents here in Carteret County. If the county has an extra $63,000 just lying around, there are many areas Down East that could benefit from dredging.
Maybe I am being too hard on Hyde County, and they just can't afford to contribute to their own dredging project. So, I did some digging (pun intended). Did you know that Hyde County's budget in July of 2020 had an estimated record occupancy income of over $600,000? Also, do you know what their plan for that money is? If not, allow me a moment to enlighten you. They are planning on giving multiple small community improvement grants totaling $600,000 to its residents, businesses and municipalities around Ocracoke Island. It seems to me like they could have found $62,916.50 somewhere in there to contribute to their dredging project to protect their own tourism industry, doesn't it?
I find this absolutely deplorable that the citizens of Carteret County are funding a dredging project in Hyde County while they are not contributing a dime. Yet they have well over half a million dollars in occupancy taxes. On the bright side though, they have promised they will help "support" our county in getting reimbursed for our contribution to their dredging project.
Maybe I shouldn't mention that despite its residents making roughly 10% more in annual income than Carteret County residents, Hyde County chose not to raise taxes on their residents this year. Yet our illustrious commissioners already voted to raise our tax rate by 10% for the current fiscal year, and now you want us to vote to add an additional 1/4 percent increase on Nov 7th?
In case no one else is keeping track, that is a total tax in-crease of $8.4 million in ONE YEAR. And that Waterway management fund...guess what it’s for? Dredging. I just don't understand how you fellas can just give $63,000 away to another county for their dredging project. All the while knowing you already voted to raise our taxes here by 10% and finally, have the audacity to ask taxpayers to vote to raise our taxes (yet again) so you can fund your county's dredging projects. I'm certainly no expert, but it sounds to me like y'all are trying to steal the flour right on out of our biscuits!
Maybe I am the only one who is questioning these decisions. In closing, let me just say I'm really not sure what y'all are puffing on in Mr. Cavanaugh's "back room full of smoke and cigars and stuff," but this deserves some kind of explanation to the tax payers of this county and pronto. For now I am just going to file it under things that make you go Hmmm.... (And by the way, Bless your hearts.)
ROBIN ANDREWS MEYER