I attended the special called business meeting on June 20, 2021 with the main purpose of hearing the motion to move forward with the purchasing of the Regions Bank building for $750,000 with funds given by the American Relief Program. Many county commissioners opposed the proposal. I believe the vote was eight to nine, with nine approving the plan. Most votes of this type by parliament procedures require a 2/3 vote approval.
As I understand it, the money is given to a county for use to improve the county to help with the financial loss due to the COVID-19 virus, and again, as I understand it, this county did not have a loss of revenue that would require a government check!
The purchase of the building from free funds will only help the current owner of the property. This building will be setting empty until another company with similar interest comes and purchases it, and at that point, the tax base will not be lost. When asked what office will move to the building, no answer was given because it had not been planned out.
The statement was made that “if we don’t take the money, another county will take it and spend it before we can get any.” I am not sure how to answer that! We can not worry about what other counties do. As a citizen of this county, we need commissioners who want to make improvements for the betterment of all the citizens. If you spend everything you get, before long you will not have anything.
Another commissioner stated that this should be passed over to the long range planning committee or the budget committee for review to plan out what action to take. I understand the money is available until 2024 (interesting point – election year), but this commissioner could at this point make a motion to table this motion of pursuing the purchase, but he did not – another interesting observation.
The county commissioners, I know, had heard from several people who were not for this purchase, but many of them voted to move forward with the discussion of purchasing the building. This was surprising to me because if someone had tabled the motion and passed it on to a committee, then that committee could discuss why and for what purpose to purchase the building. Now at this point they have passed it on to the county lawyer to discuss the purchase with the owner.
As I listened to the conversation and discussion, I kept saying to myself, “These county elected officials might know how to make a living by working at a job, but they do not seem to remember the ‘free money’ that they are talking about is tax payer’s money.” Money that our nation doesn’t have causing the national deficit to keep increasing.