New Barter deal still a flim flam

To the Editor,

I was wondering if the Mount Airy News could tell me when I would be able to register for the next Flim Flam 101 class, taught by our very own city government? Now that it seems everyone is singing Cum-by-ya and holding hands I’m sitting in the back of the classroom wondering what the hell just happened. I mean am I missing something or did we just get sold a bill of goods. Does the pig now have lip stick on?

Yes from what I see our (city’s) exposure has pretty much been cut in half. Instead of leasing The Barter’s new theater for 10 years we will only have to lease it for five years. Oh and throw in a couple of million to boot, which pretty much takes us back to a 10 year lease. All this pretty much equals the 10 cent property tax increase our wonderful city commissioners voted in a couple months ago under the guise of maintaining our city services. Talk about transparency, talk about speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth; citizens of Mount Airy deserve better than this. This is why it is so hard to understand how everyone could, all of a sudden, see the light and now embrace the pig with lip stick.

I’m like many who would love to see The Barter in our city but as a stand-alone entity. Why would we welcome someone looking for a hand out? We’re not talking about a child or a homeless person this is a business who’s trying to make money by using our money.

So okay I can rail and rail but obviously it will do no good as you’ve pulled the rabbit out of the hat and it now looks as if we’ve bought the proverbial pig in the poke. So now it looks like the council has a few different routes to take:

1) Maintain our services and raise taxes another 10 cents to cover the approximately $5 to $6 million they are committing to The Barter,

2) Don’t raise taxes again but not be able to maintain the city services we have come accustomed to and they claimed they needed the tax increase for,

3) Don’t raise taxes again because the earlier 10 cent tax hike wasn’t really for continued services after all it was for The Barter all along.

I hope it is not option number one because our property tax would be right at 70 cents on the 100, only a 22-cent hike in one year, approximately 46 percent. Option 2 seems like pulling the rug out from under people, not good. So that leaves us with option 3; the flim flam, the old bait and switch. Thanks guys, at least we get to keep our services even though we get the privilege to pay for someone else’s entertainment — by a private company no less.

Oh and I appreciate the Committee for Transparency even though it is obvious they are not concerned about the tax increase and the potential for another as they obviously wanted to see The Barter in our city at the expense of the taxpayer. They obviously didn’t care what was in the sausage they just wanted to see it being made.

I’m wondering if the city government is bent on 1) pricing the city out of reach or 2) practicing a style of government that is committed to representing only some of its citizens views. Also I wonder what potential business will think of the precedence we have now set. Will they be looking for the same deal? No, they will want a better one. Will they even consider Mount Airy because our higher than average property taxes? That is the next class I’ll take; How to not attract industry 101. I really hope The Barter is a huge success because at this point we’re going to need it.

James Wagner

Mount Airy