Pasquotank County & Elizabeth City hold joint session

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Cooperation, support for school board tax discussed

ARTS OF THE ALBEMARLE BUILDING – The quarter of a cent tax promoted by the School Board was one of the issues discussed at a recent meeting of the County and City governments.

Members of the County Commission and City Council discussed cooperation essential to improving economic development. However, when County Commissioner Frankie Meads brought up the cost of living and taxes in this area, he was cut off by his colleague Joe Winslow, who served as chairman of the joint meeting.

Meads attempted to point out that taxes in this area are higher than the rate of tax in Chesapeake, Va. The fact is that property taxes in Chesapeake are 25 percent lower. Councilman Stimatz claimed any difference could be justified by the fact that Chesapeake “has more rooftops,” which is true, though government services are starkly different in terms of cost.

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Meads was trying to convey that prior to 2007, we had people moving to the Elizabeth City area from Chesapeake. But during the Great Recession, this growth slowed or stopped altogether — and the area has been trying to recover ever since. Meads intended to discuss the short and medium term growth potential for this area but never got the opportunity.

A few months ago, in an interview with Elizabeth City Mayor Joe Peel, he stated that if a closed mill were to reopen, we would not have the workforce with the technical skills to meet the demands. He also lamented the belief that there are no middle manager personnel to take available jobs when a new Fast Food business comes to town.

These things are a sad commentary on the skill level of the employee base in this area. Mayor Peel expressed his desire to encourage young people to obtain education to fill these jobs. If he has been successful, it is not public knowledge.

As the cost of government continues to rise, we are going to need additional tax receipts to pay those costs. The County and City seem to believe that the Taxpayer is an endless source of money since costs-saving methods seem not to be a part of the dialogue. However, time will eventually prove them wrong.

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