Despite Mr. Ferguson’s recent one-page diatribe on incorporation for Swannanoa [“At What Price?,” Commentary, Aug. 13], [incorporating] does make sense for the community for several reasons—none of them self-serving.
It is almost touching to hear Mr. Ferguson vow never to sell any portion of those vast acres. But what about his heirs, or [what] if economic conditions forced him to sell a percentage of that acreage to pay taxes? And while he claims that no one in the valley wants the services provided by city officials, that is preposterous.
Mr. Ferguson’s obvious concerns can be traced back to his taxes on the 296 acres. Well, very few Swannanoa residents own anywhere near that amount of land. He also objects to paying a town manager $70,000 per year. He needs to rejoin the real world. That compensation is very modest when compared to nearby communities. He claims that in his entire working life he only earned half that amount for one year. Sorry—[I find] that claim unbelievable. My nephew just returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq as an officer. His total compensation was far above that figure. As a former Air Force veteran, charter pilot and flight instructor, Mr. Ferguson must have lost several substantial pay stubs.
Finally, having an elected form of government for Swannanoa gives residents the very protection from developers that he fears. It also would prevent the city of Asheville from annexing Swannanoa in the future.
I think it’s time for Mr. Ferguson to donate some of his vast acreage for parks and forest preserves in the valley … .
— Chuck Werle
(Swannanoa church member
and business patron)