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Is public money spent in best way?

I have a concern for the city of Elkins that money is not being spent as it should be. My first example. Purchasing an armory at $200,000. We recently found they are needing to put $750,000 of work into it. Is this repairing or remodeling and does that include asbestos removal? Is it good business? Would you purchase a home like that?

The city of Elkins is considering a change in the way it governs — a city manager. This comes from the Home Rule that the city recently changed to. They have to have a city election in which you vote to change the form of local government or to keep the current way of governing the same. Should you choose to go to the city manager form, you will be looking at paying this manager $80,000 to $100,000 a year.

The Inter-Mountain recently stated that they might need an assistant to help. There goes another (at least) $80,000 extra a year. And where are they going to get this money? Either more taxes on the current Elkins city residents or annex areas just outside of the city, plus taxes, to fill the bill. They are counting on more money this way. Under similar circumstances, Morgantown is under Home Rule and those outside of their city are fighting annexation.

Shifting gears, we now discover that the city of Elkins, might or will raise sewage rates to, not just city residents but, those in the Leadsville and Midland districts. Areas like Crystal Spring and Chenoweth Creek are just some of the areas.

Apparently the sewage system has seen better days. They have known this since 2011, maybe longer. I understand that there has been spillage in to the Tygart River and the courts have said “fix it or else.” The sewage system is up there in years and needed fixed or replaced. Could you not use some of the 1% business tax they raised about a year ago? Or at least put it toward the cost so the rate increase would not be so much? You don’t buy seat covers for your car when it is tires you need.

As for the form of government — a city manager to run the city? Isn’t that what the mayor and city council are for? I have not been in political office, nor do I claim to be an expert in how to run a government of any kind but, at some point, doesn’t common sense come into the picture? Because you want it, doesn’t mean you necessarily have to have it — or need it.

A year ago, we saw a business tax of 1% implemented. And now, possibly a rate increase on sewage. Those hurt by taxes are local and it doesn’t make other businesses want to locate to Elkins or Randolph County. Those who will graduate from college to come back to the community to practice their craft, may have a change of heart. Or even folks who were thinking of coming back to the ol’ hometown to retire. Before spending a dime, ask yourself this question. What is best for the community that can service the most?

Clark Martin

Elkins