Rocky Mount’s needs are more important than an event center

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Wednesday’s Letter to the Editor by Gene Arnold is on target. The attainable alternatives outlined in his letter will do more to improve the economic, cultural and safety well-being of the citizens of Rocky Mount than an event center that will tax citizens more to operate and reduce spendable income for families.

Thank you, Mr. Arnold, for your insightful, philosophically sound, economically-supported solutions to what Rocky Mount’s priorities should be at this time.

I am not in favor of paying increased taxes to support a concept or dream that does not serve the greater good of all the citizens of Rocky Mount at this time. A decision this important should not be left up to the hands of a few City Council members or individual citizens who might attend an interest meeting. There is a greater number of working families in Rocky Mount who support their livelihood on federal minimum wage than those who earn huge annual salaries. There is a large number of citizens who rely upon entitlement programs to sustain their existence at taxpayers’ expense. Before we tax citizens to sustain a dream option, taxpayers and policy makers need to make our city attractive enough for new tenants to want to bring business to Rocky Mount as a first priority. Reduction in crimes citywide, supporting homeless families, increased job opportunities and supplementing the educational systems of Nash and Edgecombe counties who work to combat illiteracy are essential components that must take priority over a beautiful building.

Rocky Mount is still in the process of paying off a huge utilities debt, so where will the extra money come from? We hope the utilities customers will not have to bear the burden of cleaning up contaminated coal ash that a private corporation has caused, but that decision is still in abeyance.

City Council members and taxpayers must use sound, fiscal and statistically based facts when calculating the prospects of how such a center will be paid for and sustained. My grandma used to say it is not wise to count one’s biddies before the eggs hatch. I believe taxpaying citizens of Rocky Mount will want to support needed improvements such as increased police resources, a supplemental tax to sustain a quality education system, ensuring the safety of residents living in high-crime areas who are not part of the crime network, and paying for a camera surveillance network system that identifies the criminals in the midst of their actions as the city of Newark, N.J., currently does because crimes cost all citizens.

The idea of purchasing land at the Interstate 95 corridor and turning it into a tax base is sound economic principle that will generate revenue on a continuous basis for years.

MARY WARD

Rocky Mount