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Archive for November 14th, 2011

Business – American Style

US Cellular wants its name on the Asheville Civic Center, and it will pay up to $1.3 million to do so. Some citizens are upset over a deal that shut out the public and potential competitors.

[Mayor Terry] Bellamy said the $810,000 investment from U.S. Cellular is equivalent to a a [sic.] 2-cent hike in city property taxes. “This is huge. This says to our community that we are not going to raise your taxes to go into infrastructure at the Civic Center.”

The mayor is partially correct. It tells our community the city will raise US Cellular users’ rates to “go into infrastructure.” Councilman Cecil Bothwell, however, believes there is an order of magnitude error in the calculation of the equivalent tax rate, but that shouldn’t make a diff to anybody caught up in the energy. I digress.

Prodded by the Civic Center Task Force, the city has embarked on a $5.45 million renovation program.

Civic Center enthusiast Dennis Justice recalls the Civic Center was ten years ago deemed in need of $70-105 million in repairs. But that’s OK. Governments often encounter unforeseen overruns, and money can be shoveled out of essential service appropriations to cover them, leaving the taxpayers – or maybe Verizon customers next time – wide open for a tax increase.

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Dufus Goes to . . . the Wrong Places at the Wrong Times

It started Saturday, when I was looking for some stats from a recent John Locke Foundation spotlight report on how dreadfully graduates of North Carolina public schools were faring in the community college system. Scrolling down the home page, I bumbled into an advert for the second Constitutional Workshop to be held in Hendersonville. Funny. I hadn’t heard about it. It was scheduled for November 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. It was 3:10. I scrammed.

I saw only a little over an hour, but it was enjoyable. I found the content more applicable to current issues than that presented in the first workshop, which was highly informative, but very historical. What I liked most was how when Michael Sanera asked a question, as long as you were paying attention and applying logic, you were almost doomed to get the right answer. The show is highly recommended should it come to a town near you. I do hope to catch the first part sometime.

Continuing the mis-vectored trajectory, I had the misfortune of attending a meeting in a room in the Maple Building on the AB Tech campus. My gracious hostess, a lovely lady, apologized for the clutter, explaining it had been used as campaign headquarters for supporters of the quarter-cent tax increase. I was too lame to ask how the room had managed to avoid being tax-supported.

Then, a few minutes later, I learned that Linamar would in the near future be announcing job openings. It couldn’t just yet because the corporation did not know what those jobs would be. Linamar is the Volvo affiliate for which Asheville and Buncombe County taxpayers purchased the old Volvo plant to stave off other potential buyers until Volvo could get its finances together. This triggered a flashback to something the same Michael Sanera had written about the two subjects:

Voters should receive assurances that the $7 million in new revenue from the proposed sales-tax increase would not go to pay the tax rebates given to Linamar Corporation as incentives to move into the Volvo plant, which the county recently purchased for $7 million.

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