Questions remain about sales-tax referendum

Like many of you I have been reading about a proposal for a tax increase for a new recreational center. Could this county benefit from a recreational center? The answer I believe is yes. I must admit, I do not like paying more in taxes.

We are being told there would be a $.0025 increase in sales tax we pay. There seem to be a lot of unanswered questions:

1. How much will the new rec center cost?

2. Will the additional tax money only be spent on the rec center?

3. How long do we pay the higher sales tax?

4. Will the tax end once the rec center is paid?

5. Is building a new rec center the most cost-effective action?

6. Do we really need a mega pool with slides?

7. What are the additional costs to operate and maintain the proposed new rec center complex?

I look around our county and I see empty buildings and buildings planning to be empty in the near future. These buildings may not be a perfect solution, but could they serve the basics for a rec center? Have our elected officials looked at using an existing structure(s) that could be renovated? As example, the county has a building called the Morgan Center that is being renovated. Could we use this building and add to the existing structure as needed? The architects were quoted as saying “the facility could be done in chunks as the money came along …” We are consolidating our schools, why not use one of the available schools with gyms?

Mr. Patterson said the structure could be completed as early as May 2020. Does this mean the structure would be paid at this time? Would the county take out a loan or bond to pay for the construction? I would hope we are not planning on going deeper in debt. It seems as if we are paying long term for new schools and a new city hall for years to come

I come from a historical area where the belief is to preserve and renovate existing buildings first. It seems the mentality in this area is like Atlanta, new buildings. Atlanta can well afford this, can we? It just seems that all taxpayers hear is the word “new” and “multi-million dollar” facilities. I do agree we need a recreational center, but do we need to have a showcase?

Jim Johnston

Laurinburg