In response to “Study: Fix South Trade Street” in the June 29 to July 5 issue.
South Trade widening is a must
The Town of Matthews has now wasted another $29,100 of taxpayer money, at the insistence of a minority of commissioners, to prove what is obvious to even the most casual observer. South Trade Street widening is the highest priority road improvement project in the town. This board even went so far as to insist on a new company to perform this same study again, no doubt in hopes that it would give the two senior commissioners their desired outcome of a priority to complete the McKee Road extension rather than the South Trade Street widening.
The last remaining fallacy being propagated by this board is that this bond, when financed, will “require” a tax increase equating to about $70 per year for a home valued at $200,000. Matthews has an almost unlimited source of money from which they have drawn millions of dollars per year over the last few years for pet projects that, in my opinion, are done primarily for “feel good” purposes. The most recent example is more than $1 million spent this year alone on renovations to the former Bradford Clinic and the “Ag” Building. The mayor has admitted publicly that there is no current purpose for the clinic, other than for bathrooms (which are being added to the structure at a cost of $190,000) to supplement Stumptown Park. The Ag Building may be used for meeting space. The million dollars came from the tourism funds; a shared fund that evidently stems from hotel and prepared food taxes.
Since improvement of roads is clearly a benefit to the enhancement of attracting tourists, I submit that using some of these (tourism) funds to pay debt service for the bond is appropriate. The board’s insistence that taxes must go up to pay for this project is not legitimate. It is simply a way to dodge their responsibility for committing to the completion of this long overdue improvement to the infrastructure of our community.
Had this board not dodged this issue for eight long years, there would be no tax increase discussion. So if there is one now, there are only seven people to blame!