Running on their records

Can anyone out there come up with one compelling reason to vote for the incumbent county commissioners this year?

I need some reassurance here, because I’m looking for a reason not to cast a blanket vote against the incumbents. I need to have faith in their ability to lead the county through what is shaping up as another very tough budget year.

I’ll give you an example of one of the things that has shaken my faith in the incumbents. The board members last year didn’t know the difference between “revenue neutral” and “tax neutral” when they scrambled to reassure taxpayers not to worry about those preposterous property tax revaluations that increased values by as much as 50 percent during some of the worst economic times we’ve seen in a generation. Yes, at a time when paying taxes got harder for a majority of Orange County residents, the board authorized what was in essence a tax hike.

To top that off, one commissioner got all mealy-mouthed when he had to explain what in the world the board members were thinking. “It’s revenue-neutral for the county, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be revenue-neutral for the citizens,” a chagrined Barry Jacobs told one reporter. “I actually thought I was accomplishing something for people. Even by being revenue-neutral, the majority of people are going to have a tax increase, even though we said we didn’t want a tax increase. That doesn’t really address their concern adequately.”

The sort of economic savvy Jacobs displays is likely to bring about cuts in the operating hours for libraries, the animal shelter, senior centers and other county facilities and limits on the amount of services provided to residents most in need of assistance. Let’s not forget the new facilities, such as the central library in Hillsborough, that came online last year and the extra costs that will accompany them.

I would like to vote for an incumbent who was better at providing far-sighted leadership rather than handing out awkward apologies.

Jacobs will compete with Joal Hall Broun, the Carrboro alderman, and Joe Phelps, the former mayor of Hillsborough. God help Jacobs if he tries to run on his record. Even Commissioner Alice Gordon might want to think twice about running on her record, and she has no one running against her.

–Don Evans

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  1. Bill

     /  March 2, 2010

    Have you checked out “GOOOH”? It is basically an anti-incumbent movement.

    Like you I think it is time for some real change so I am voting for new ideas and people.

  2. Mark Marcoplos

     /  March 2, 2010

    GOOOH is an anti-incumbendent movement with the nuance of a cinder block and the intellectual depth of a Glenn Beck rant.

  3. Bob

     /  March 2, 2010

    The county commissioners have made a hash of county finances and provided precious little leadership on pocketbook issues for county residents. It is hard to feel optimistic about the county’s financial future given the track record they have amassed.

  4. Don Evans

     /  March 3, 2010

    I trashed a few comments here because they were not contributing any information to the discussion.

    Keep it on-topic, guys!