The point of no return

Published 11:28 am Friday, May 20, 2016

Never mind the fact that Southampton County planning commissioner Robert White stated that he only voted to approve the Camp Parkway project rezoning because the other eight commissioners voted against it.

What he went on to say during the most recent planning commission meeting was right on the money:

“We’ve got a problem. We’re in dire straits. If we don’t bring commerce and industry to Southampton County, we’re going to have the largest tax increases in the history of the county within the next few years. Land use will probably go away for the farmers, so anybody with agriculture or woodland, your taxes are going to go up five times. If we run away economic development in Southampton County, we’re going to be facing all these problems.”

A number of his fellow commissioners, before voting against the rezoning, stated publicly that they were against the project, not on its merits but because of its location. They were not in favor of “destroying a community” by approving the potential project, primarily because of its proximity to a church and a school.

The reality, however, is that the very community and the neighboring institutions the planning commission seeks to protect are in imminently greater danger by Southampton County’s refusal to say yes to anything.

Nothing puts this community in greater danger than a lack of jobs, high taxes and underfunded schools. The longer we stubbornly refuse to expand our tax base, the closer we come to our economic problems becoming insurmountable.