Taxation without representation?

By: Mark Schenck - Contributing columnist

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ticipate in the leadership of any organization, private or public, or have been elected to a governmental office. Whether the organization’s funds are derived from “dues,” “donations,”or “taxes,” one of the main responsibilities of the organization’s leadership is to obtain what is needed at the best possible value. “What is needed.” This is the question at the Heart of the New City Hall dispute. The majority of City residents,

“What is needed.” This is the question at the heart of the new City Hall dispute. The majority of city residents, including: rich, poor, old, young, and all of our various racial groups refuse to believe that a new City Hall for Laurinburg should have preference over the other needs of the community and a new City Hall is but a “want” of a small minority. Many feel that other options have not been properly explored and that a project of this magnitude must not

Many feel that other options have not been properly explored and that a project of this magnitude must not rushed through just to beat the “election cycle.”

One such option that should be considered is to obtain a court injunction stopping all current progress until a proper “feasibility study is conducted. The main purpose of the study to be the utilization of existing structures as all or part of the new City Hall. Example: If an abandoned county school building could to be converted, the city would pay the county for the property and the county would then use these funds to offset the cost of the new county schools.

A realistic look at Laurinburg finds that 47 percent of Laurinburgs residents are renting someone else’s house to live in, simply meaning this is not a prosperous city by any means and the trend is continuing downward. There seems to be little progress being made in lowering taxes and utilities. Without maintaining proper state recommended financial reserves the current city administration tends to react like a college kid with dad’s “maxed out” credit card, in that every time Laurinburg pays off a loan they run right out and charge something else.

Research on the internet in an area titled:“Converting Abandoned Public Buildings” produced excellent examples of successful conversion projects. Just a few examples from various parts of the country that are reasonably close the Laurinburg’s population finds two converted schools and one case where a historic furniture store was converted to the city administration building.

Ashland Oregon, Population in 2014: 20,684: School Conversion To City Hall Good Idea.

New Smyrna Beach -Converted the Live Oak Elementary School into a city administrative complex. New Albany Ind. Population in 2014: 36,589 – Moved City Hall into Historic Down Town Furniture Store…

Still the main dispute surrounding this project continues to be, is it a want or a need? One large group of city residents lists many viable options that cost far less. The much smaller group favors the new City Hall claiming it will draw new business into the area. The solution to this disagreement is quite simple, put this question on next November’s election ballot and let the voters decide. What could be more democratic?

Unfortunately some of North Carolina’s laws and regulations are still in the “horse and buggy Days,” and voting on referendums is one of them.

Only those elections specifically authorized by the state’s constitution or by statute may be held. In the absence of such authorization, any particular kind of referendum simply may not be held. Yet 26 other states have been given the power of the referendum to control their communities but not NC.

Consequentially the poor taxpayer has no defense against the potential of “rogue” officials except to vote them out of office, which may be years after their damage has been done. It’s like someone is robbing your house and you’re told you can’t get any help for two years!

The Scotland-Laurinburg area has had it’s share of “failure of representation.” In and around 2005 a similar failure of representation almost destroyed the entire County of Scotland when an attempt was made to build a “Mega Dump” that would be primarily used by the northeastern states.

If you recall some of the same individuals were ignoring the majority that elected them as county representatives, needless to say those individuals are no longer a threat to the county, they just moved to town.

Mark Schenck

Contributing columnist

Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party

Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party