Letter: The big bait and switch

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Recently released and already delivered for your viewing pleasure is a new “stealth thriller” — your 2017-18 property tax bill. It includes a new city-imposed tax hoax produced, directed and choreographed entirely by our good friends at City Hall.

Remember that new property tax placed in the city’s 2017-18 annual budget — the special new tax “dedicated” to finance the $74 million in city bonds from the November 2016 bond referenda? Well, believe it or not, City Hall has just officially announced: “That ain’t gonna happen, folks!”

As our tax bill payments begin to replenish the city coffers, these “dedicated” new tax revenues will not be placed into a separated “debt service fund” to pay for interest and principal on the proposed bonds. Instead, in a July 27, 2017, affidavit filed under oath in the Buncombe County Superior Court by City Manager Gary Jackson, the city’s new official position is that: “The $.035 (the new 3.5 cents tax/$100 in property value) … is allocated instead to the General Fund’s Capital Reserve Fund, which can be used for many different purposes” (emphasis added).

Gotcha’ again, folks!

This outlandish “bait and switch” reversal and blatant misrepresentation by City Hall (by both staff and City Council) as to the intended purpose and use of the revenues from this new tax should remind us all of Sir Walter Scott’s classic poetic warning: “O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

— Sidney M. Bach
Asheville

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16 thoughts on “Letter: The big bait and switch

  1. randy0302

    Important update! Thanks! As someone who is watching Asheville closely as a possible future resident I want to know the state of governance. Globally and nationally we are at the end of an era of Globalism. The one world or New World Order has been outed and nearly defeated. The financial system is past the breaking point. You will soon hear about derivatives failing. Derivatives are financial Bets that total about $1.5 quadrillion or $1500 Trillion at risk in the global banking system……it’s over folks. Local governance becomes supremely important and if it is not responsive and beneficial to the citizens it will be replaced.
    BTW This entire left/right blah blah blah. They are using a thousand year old play book divide and conquer. Please don’t fall for it. The system is broken and they want us fighting and blaming each other.

    • Lulz

      LOL and just what do you think these progressive loons are? Globalist who despise national identity. Their end game isn’t confederate monuments but the destruction of the Constitution itself. They attack capitalism but are in denial of the cronyism within government that is the real reason for wealth concentration at the top. After all if people making regulations are also involved with the powerful and the wealthy, then they’ll pass laws and regulations that make it hard for others to compete.

      Just read the lunacy posted at the Universal Unitarian Church of which our bud Bothwell is a member of.

      They also turn the other cheek where it concerns Newman, who during his tenure in local government has become wealthy. You don’t suppose being involved in a solar company while also promoting green energy and being able to direct tax funds has anything to do with it? Crony capitalism is rampant here. Beware.

      • bsummers

        After all if people making regulations are also involved with the powerful and the wealthy, then they’ll pass laws and regulations that make it hard for others to compete.

        Hey, lay off Trump and his cabinet of billionaire greedheads!

    • bsummers

      Lemme guess – you have a toll-free number for us to call & learn about buying gold, right?

    • The Real World

      You are preaching to deaf ears, Randy. You will not find in this town minds open to your message. It doesn’t fit what their national prophets and the local echo chamber are telling them.

      Asheville is a town of group-think and there are two distinct, but opposing, wings of it. They both are equally narrow and intractable. You would do well to keep that distinctly in mind when evaluating this area.

      Meanwhile, good letter Sidney. What a surprise! Ever more govt deception and plenty of dupes who have no idea what they’re voting affirmatively for in the first place. Trust me, I asked some people and they couldn’t define anything about any of those bonds. That’s what makes them so easy to dupe; they’re clueless to begin with.

      Here’s the kicker: I’ve met at least 4 people this year who moved here recently and provided as one of their reasons for doing so that the taxes were too high where they came from. Isn’t that precious? I said to the last one, “well, you tax refugees needs to give a huge re-think to your voting patterns or you’re going to create the very place you left.” Can you imagine that the guy had a puzzled look on his face? OMG!

      • Lulz

        Of course they’re dumb. Why in the hell would anyone want tax increases while their own services dwindle? In the 1970’s and 80’s when tumbleweeds rolled through downtown, the city collected leaves from the curb. Do they do that now? But they do make sure you need a permit to fart in your own backyard.

        • The Real World

          Uh oh, I’ve been here several years now and did not know about the ‘backyard fart permit’. I’m probably in violation!

          Are any part of the permit fees going to Al Gore as some sort of carbon offset skim….errr…. I mean, payment?

  2. cecil bothwell

    Taxes aren’t due until January. Bonds haven’t been issued. Projects haven’t started.
    So the letter writer is suggesting that money not yet collected is not being used to repay debt not incurred for work not yet done.
    Someone is a little confused.

    • Lulz

      LOL, no you are. How’s that extra 30 mil for your Biltmore tourist annex coming along? You need more money? I’ll starve so you can progress with the insanity.

      TIME for you to go away.

      • Lulz

        Too bad you haven’t the conviction to reply but you sure as hell want my money. Go away bud. You are totally and utterly unfit to be on anything that deals with public funds. The RADTIP is an expensive joke. But go ahead and fund the 1 percenters and big corps here. And don’t forget the bike riders with the corporate gear Mr I hate Wall Street.

  3. luther blissett

    Why is Mr Bach, esq. talking about a “debt service fund” in quotes as if it was something explicitly promised, like a giant ceremonial piggy bank? I remember a reference to the projected obligations of debt service, but no reference to such a discrete fund. Perhaps he’s being “economical” with his accusations and extravagant with his “”s?

    Cecil Bothwell is right. The bonds haven’t been issued. The taxes haven’t been collected. The projects haven’t begun. Bonds can be issued at any time of the year. Tax rates can’t be adjusted on the fly.

    And does Mr Bach, esq. regret that his increasingly crankish jaunt through the courts (backed by the embittered Chris Peterson) is going to take a chunk out of the city’s coffers in legal fees that could have been spent on more useful things? For what it’s worth, I agreed with him on the housing bond, and said so many times. However, the ongoing hissy-fit over capital improvement bonds is unbecoming; Mr Bach, esq. and Mr Peterson should have run for City Council on a platform to cancel their issuance.

    • luther blissett

      One additional point: the longer this litigation drags on, the less likely it becomes that the city can take advantage of historically low interest rates for bonds. Even an extra 10 basis points makes a six- or seven-figure difference here.

      Is that the intention of Mr Bach, esq. and Mr Peterson? To run up the city’s legal tab and make it harder and more expensive to issue the bonds, then either blame the city for the additional debt-servicing costs if it does so, or for ineptitude if it does not? Talk about a bait and switch: a former vice-mayor with a love of lawsuits, who hangs on to grudges till they’re old enough to drink, now holding the city hostage.

      Perhaps Chris Peterson isn’t aware that the city of Asheville is not his tenant, and the residents of Asheville are not his tenants. He can’t squeeze them for rent, evict them overnight, or sue them into doing what he wants.

      • Lulz

        LOL, elitist that think the cost of living is low here argue for more taxes. That’s about what you stand for.

        • luther blissett

          Dude, you’re part of the city’s elite. Maybe you should come to terms with that.

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