Published 12:00 am Friday, June 1, 2007

Still stumped on compensation
I read with interest the May 24 article about Commissioner Jim Sides having to deal with the city over the damage to his property. All I can say is, “Good luck!” We’ve been there, done that.
Back when CP&L was going to build its power plant, we found their surveyors cutting trees on our property, unannounced. They told me not to worry; all this had to go, but we would be paid “handsomely” by CP&L for our damages and right-of-way. Later, Duke Energy got involved and the handsome amount we got from CP&L? Not one penny. All we got were lies and double-talk from them. However, they made out “handsomely” by getting about $7 million of our tax dollars.
As fate would have it, later comes along the N.C. 70 widening project. The DOT did have the decency to notify us of what would be happening; however, we found they will lie to you, too. Why this is necessary, I don’t have a clue. Our problem with them is the amount of just compensation we were to receive. After receiving their token deposit four and a half years later, we still haven’t received what is fair. Unfortunately, it’s in the courts now, and with our age and failing health, I just hope we live to get our due.
Now, please, don’t tell me to take this problem to our representatives, like Rep. Lorene Coates. Even though she sits as vice chairman of both the public utilities and transportation committees, she’s no help. As long as our elected leaders and judges condone the conduct of victimizing helpless citizens who don’t have the resources to protect themselves, the likes of the above will continue to happen.
You will never know how it is until you’ve been there, done that.
ó James C. Walker
Medicaid relief is a critical issue
Counties across the state have for many years asked the state to end its requirement that county governments use local revenues ó the primary of which is the property tax ó to fund 15 percent of the state’s share of Medicaid, a federal and state program that helps pay for health insurance for the disabled and low-wealth citizens.
It now appears the state Legislature is serious about providing Medicaid relief for counties. The state Senate’s budget proposal includes a provision that would permanently end the county cost-share requirement by July 1, 2008. Due to the unprecedented growth in costs associated with this program ó without relief, our Rowan County 2007-08 projected costs have grown 103 percent since 2000 ó the need for a permanent solution to this crisis has never been greater.
Approximately 80 percent of the functions provided by Rowan County are mandated by the state. Medicaid, a mandated function, is a burgeoning line item in our county budget that we have no way to control. It stifles our ability to use our local revenues to pay for critical local infrastructure needs ó particularly schools and water and sewer services ó all while maintaining a fair and equitable property tax rate.
Permanently eliminating this burden is an important step in securing adequate school facilities and a better quality of life for the citizens of Rowan County.
ó Jon Barber
Mt. Ulla
Editor’s note: Jon Barber serves on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Amnesty rewards
illegal immigrants
In 1986, Sen. Edward Kennedy (the major proponent of the current amnesty bill) said, “This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this.”
Yet now he wants to hand citizenship to between 12 million and 20 million people who have thumbed their noses at our laws.
The only plan that will work is attrition through enforcement. By enforcing our current laws for employers, they will cease to hire illegal aliens; the illegals will return home, and then they could apply to come here legally, as the majority of the world has to do.
It is time for the U.S. government to say “Enough!” and to take charge of our country again.
I was pleased to see that Sen. Elizabeth Dole voted for Senator Vitter’s Amendment to strip the entire amnesty from the Senate Immigration Bill (S.2611). I was very disappointed to see Sen. Richard Burr voted “no” on the amendment, protecting the permanent legalization of 12-20 million illegal aliens and giving them access to U.S. jobs for life!
I hope when people go to vote, they will remember whether their senators voted to sell out America, the American workers and their families in favor of illegal lawbreakers . We have a legal way for immigrants to come to this country that brings in more people a year than the rest of the world combined, so we don’t need to feel guilty for sending lawbreakers back where they came from.
The reason they are in the shadows is because they broke our laws in coming here . If we reward them with amnesty, what next? Are we going to start giving amnesty to bank robbers, drug dealers , etc. because they say they were only doing it to make a better life for themselves?
ó Robert H. Fink
Iredell offers lessons on taxesMaybe we could send Commissioners Arnold Chamberlain, Chad Mitchell and Jon Barber over to Iredell County to see how county government is really supposed to be run. They could ask them how the tax rate in Iredell could only be 46.5 when it takes 59 to run Rowan County.
Just maybe, if Rowan had a comparable rate to Iredell we might see some industry come into our county, as it has in Iredell.
Back in 1979, both Iredell and Rowan had about the same rate of .41; now look at the rates for Iredell (46.5)and Rowan (59). Then look who has the jobs and the population increase.
What do we get in Rowan County for all the extra taxes?
I believe there is a lesson to be learned, commissioners. Maybe the three commissioners could get a job in Raleigh where all they know is more taxes.
ó Jack Taylor