Need for jail raises questions for county

September 16, 2013

To the Editor,

As the commissioners consider a tax increase for the new jail, there are concerns that need to be addressed.

Did lack of oversight lead to a the current poor design? Will quality control measures be imposed to protect the citizens’ investment? Why limit funding options to a sales tax or property tax? What other options are available? What level of amenities will be built into the jail? Do criminals deserve luxuries while our schools lack necessities?

The jail tax on citizens results in a multi-million dollar windfall for Balfour Beatty and Metcon Inc.

This tax places an additional burden on those who work and contribute to the tax base, already one of the highest in the state. How much tax is required to appease the appetite of those charged with managing our resources? Increased taxes lead to decreased incentive to invest or work in the county.

Have the commissioners considered utilization of the Robeson County Correctional Center? Are there other vacant prisons in neighboring counties? Could there be a more aggressive foreclosure policy to place properties into the hands of citizens who pay taxes?

Could the county re-prioritize the budget and make cuts? This would be an excellent opportunity to reduce commissioner salaries, perks, and redirect discretionary funds.

The county requires new leadership that employs creative strategies to grow our educational base and improve our economic and social posture. More taxes are not the answer. Why does education take a backseat to a Department of Social Services, which consumes a huge portion of the budget with rampant fraudulent claims? We must move beyond low-paying jobs, and an environment where the benefits of not working outweigh hard work, leading to increased dependence.

The upcoming election affords the citizens an opportunity to elect candidates who will be truthful to the citizens and reject dependence and promote policies designed to reward hard work, self-sufficiency, and independence, leaders who will work to improve education, attract higher-paying jobs, clean up our communities, and reduce fraud at DSS.

Lynn E. Locklear

Prospect/Red Springs

Citizens for Integrity in Government