Updike praised for opposing county budget

Published 11:07 am Wednesday, May 30, 2012

To the Editor:

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Southampton County Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike.

Though I am not a resident of his district, I want to applaud his vote against the $200 garbage fee for Southampton County. At least 600 residents and voters expressed on at least one petition our opposition to the fee.

Many county residents felt there were other means to address the budget shortfall. That said, as evident in social media and on the comment/opinion pages of The Tidewater News website, hundreds of voters in Southampton County continue to feel that our tax dollars are not being used effectively and efficiently.

This burden of a trash fee will not be equally shared by all residents; it will be a burden on the residents who work hard to pay their taxes. The current outstanding balance of more than $708,000 in delinquent taxes paints a picture of how this fee will not generate revenue on an equally shared basis.

I am 100 percent against using tax revenue to fund any non-mandatory budget line item when a shortfall is present in the budget. A very basic review of the budget shows non-mandatory spending.

My favorite quotes from the May 25 article in The Tidewater News entitled “Supervisors vote 5-1 to support budget with $200 garbage fee article” were:

“If we don’t get well and take our medicine now, the county is going to die,” Supervisor Barry Porter said.

“We got ourselves in a hell of a lot of debt,” Supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards added. “We are on life support. We have a dead foot that needs cut off to save the rest of the body.”

Gentlemen, respectfully I ask, if this fiscal crisis is so bad that it requires me to pay this garbage fee, why was the budget not cut accordingly with the same urgency?

President George H.W. Bush is remembered time and time again for the tagline, “Read my lips, no new taxes.”

Perhaps some supervisors will be remembered with a tagline of “This fee is not a tax,” especially when re-election comes.

Don Wilson