Once upon a time in the realm of Chatham

By Karl Ernst

Siler City, NC – I have read Penley’s post on the Chatham Chatlist.

“ From my understanding the tax paying residents of District 1, Karen Howard, actually pay more to Chatham County in taxes every year than the combined total for the western districts of 4 and 5.”

“ I believe even District 2 around Pittsboro, which is represented by Mike Dasher, pays more than 4 and 5 combined.”

Those are low blows, woman. But are you bragging or complaining? And where were Howard and Dasher, and all those well-heeled taxpayers 50 years ago?  Let’s recall some facts.

A native of Greensboro, when I settled in Chatham after discharge from the military in 1974, I went to work at Forest Paschal Machinery as a hydraulic systems technician; helping to build large automated brick handling equipment. Then the recession in the housing industry caused them to close the end of December, 1975.

There were several other industries including textiles, furniture, construction, and agricultural operations in the Triad. If you wanted to work, you could more than likely find it but you had to travel. And there was another scenario in play at that time. Because of the large industrial population in the west side of the county, there existed a large industrial ….. let me see…. what’s that term?…. Oh yeah!!…an INDUSTRIAL/COMMERCIAL TAX BASE!

How easily we somehow forget, eh, Penley? I would say that the taxpayers in our area, all of them on this side of the county, did an outstanding job in keeping the county safe, moving, and growing. We paid more than our share when we could!

Then came outsourcing and things changed drastically. It all left. Were it not so, you can bet your last tax-dollar we would not be hearing such balderdash from those who can only ‘blow’ their own whistle. The wannabes who bought a home, brought their families, and not much more than their laundry and their dinner table with them, along with the desire for things in Chatham to be like it was where they came from. I believe they call them ‘bedroom communities’. At least they do pay their residential taxes, credit where credit is due.

However, we know that a mostly residential tax base does not foot the total bill. It takes a large population and large property values, which the good folks in the eastern districts surely seem to have, to make a dent. That’s a fact.  Howard and Dasher can claim zero responsibility, except for continually raising tax rates and fees, for the monies being paid into the county coffers as Penley alludes to.

And the payers just keep on coming.

Further, your disparagement of Andy Wilkie is disgusting.

“As for District 5, Mr. Petty stepped down and the GOP appointed a flawed candidate to fill his large shoes.”

Andy is a good man doing what he can do to make the lives of our residents better. If you think your ‘flawed’ self can do better, stand and be counted. Otherwise, please go blow your own whistle somewhere else. PUH-LEEEEZE!  [“Roger Rabbit” said that.]

Finally, as before when I was a Candidate for District 4, I say it is now even more imperative that true district voting be implemented in this county post-haste. The back-handed attitude exhibited in Penley’s post does nothing to generate cooperative and productive conversations and resulting relationships. I freely acknowledge that I am guilty of same as I tap out this post. I regret any consternation I may have caused, but I will not stand for this.

Have a great Chatham Day!