City payouts going up — again?

To the Editor,

Here we go again – yet another doubling, tripling or quadrupling of projected costs associated with the Council’s retention of an “expert” for Bartergate!

Per a recent article in The Mount Airy News (“Board to discuss Barter legal expenses”), the cost of hiring a Raleigh-based lawyer has exploded in our faces – with the original estimate of $5,000 now ballooning to “approximately $11,000!” In addressing the issue, Commissioner Yokeley said, “I think his bill is very reasonable so far and I think the rest is reasonable – we just need to get some details on it.” Ya think? How about getting details, along with a reasonable estimate, before shaking hands?

It seems to me that we (the bill-paying taxpayers!) have one of two problems: either the City Commissioners have NO IDEA what they’re doing and how much their flailing about is costing us … or they simply don’t care because this type of rapid-fire escalation of costs for outside services represents the ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ when hiring so-called “experts” – which is to say that the Commissioners simply pay all invoices submitted.

This “If you bill us, we will pay it” mentality demonstrates the Commissioners’ chronic inability to perform their fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Mount Airy. Why, then, should we trust that these same individuals – who have little or no regard for how, why, and to whom our tax dollars are being paid – are capable of crafting a smart deal that will protect taxpayers from assuming the bulk of the financial risk for the proposed Barter Theatre annex?

Rebecca Harmon

Mount Airy