Supervisor, TN should give Updike a break

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, February 2, 2013

To the Editor:

I recently read this story (“Updike votes against tax break,” Jan. 30).

I have read some of the comments about (Southampton County Newsoms District Supervisor) Mr. (Glenn) Updike voting against the tax exemption for AMAC. Many of the comments were mean spirited.

I feel The Tidewater News ran this story several times on the front page to try and make Mr. Updike look bad and embarrass him. I have followed this particular story due to its closeness to the Town of Ivor.

Mr. Updike stated his concern to and voted against it. He stated the land was not rezoned to industrial.

The county is also willing to provide financial incentives to AMAC, Amanda Jarratt, president and chief executive officer for Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. told The Tidewater News (“Concrete, asphalt plant proposed for Ivor, Sept 21). She went on to say that nothing will be worked out until the rezoning is approved.

I want to be clear. I think Mr. Updike was wrong about the incentives. I think the county will benefit in the long run anyway. Mr. Updike has been a voice of reason on the council.

Most people have praised his independent voice. He is not a “yes” man.

The other supervisors could not wait to jump on him about this. The supervisors have made so many bad decisions on many issues, like the “trash tax.” They don’t have room to criticize.

Supervisor Ronnie West was particularly harsh in his tone, saying “from day one, he (Updike) knew for a fact that we would seek the incentive.”

Supervisor Bruce Phillips not so much. He said, “it was discussed.”

There seems to be a confusing message here. Was there an agreement? Or just a discussion? Was a dollar amount discussed?

I think Updike was wrong, but he has been right on a host of other issues. The supervisors and The Tidewater News should give Updike a break and stop the politics.

Larry Smith

Editor’s note: The Tidewater News ran one story on Glenn Updike’s decision involving voting against the tax break. It ran on the Business page on Jan. 30.