There were / are two ongoing dilemmas (among all the others) in our Town of Carthage.
One involves the creation of a “new” courthouse when an “old – new” courthouse was built approximately thirty (30) years ago. The “new” new courthouse redirected revenue from “other” potential projects in the Moore County Seat – the Town of Carthage. A post was made on Facebook in 2017 and forwarded to me today, when an update was posted recently, regarding the raise in taxation for the “new” new courthouse.
However, a little history here regarding the image above may address the topic of the “new” new courthouse. It appears the County Seat – the Town of Carthage – was built based on a court complex and the courthouse has undergone renovation every 30 to 40 years consecutively since the 1800’s. It is the formation of revenue that has stayed true to the locality and now knowing this – in searching for an image for this story on WordPress – it is easy to understand the County has a history of a new courthouse every thirty years or thereabouts. So the new courthouse may be as simple a concept as – well – it was the normal time to solicit new courthouse funds based on nearly 200 years of doing so every 30 to 40 years. It is a tradition. It is a standard-bearer and probably as subconscious as walking in the enactment of the action to build a “new” new courthouse by the County collective. It is what Moore County has done since the 1800’s, perhaps as far back as the 1700’s because the town stems from the Revolutionary War era.
All that history aside, the post I read, and my response, are listed below; additionally, listed below is a response to the recent Town Council Meeting where a League of Women Voters representative came to Carthage from “Pinehurst” (nearby progressive golf community where everyone complains all the revenue goes for our County) and what occurred at the Town Council Meeting (a cantankerous display of impropriety).
Well, Pinehurst may not reach out again for another decade but in the end – is that the hope? Of course, too, it must be said, a number of Town Council Members kept their heads and didn’t join in the rancor and the damage done was as much an issue for them as citizens embarrassed by the tirade.
Here’s my two cents . . . to another citizen’s take . . . which I’ve posted first . . .
Big news was made in Moore County today. No, not the ONLY news reported by “The Pilot.” The fact that property taxes are going up is not news. We all KNEW that.
No, the real news was that county manager Wayne Vest FINALLY admitted in an open forum that NO court order mandating the building of a new courthouse actually exists.
I already knew this (see posts below). I new it because I spent HOURS going over public records and scouring newspaper articles a while back.
Interesting. The BoC COULD have asked voters to approve this new courthouse in November (you know, like they did for the schools). But they didn’t.
Oh, and that property tax raise? Part of it is to pay for this courthouse.
So, let’s talk about this new courthouse for Moore County, shall we?
In today’s article in “The Pilot” (you know, the one where the county commissioners denied flip flopping on school funding and inadvertently admitted to flat out lying instead) Commissioner Gregory said they had to move forward with building the new courthouse without voter approval because the courts had mandated it.
Well, as it turns out, that isn’t entirely true. No court order to build a new courthouse exists. Two grand juries have found security at the current courthouse to be lacking and a previous board “pledged” to a superior court judge that a courthouse would be built within 5 years. Now, as the past week or so has shown us, normally a pledge from these county commissioners doesn’t mean squat, but in this case, I suppose they feel the need to follow through. Seems like they are a lot more uncomfortable breaking promises to a superior court judge than they are breaking promises to their constituents. However, in truth, the worst thing that could happen if the pledge is broken is the judge could then possibly use a court order to force the county to build a new courthouse.
Now, I won’t go into the entire history of the courthouse debacle, as the current board isn’t responsible for the actions of previous boards (although I will note that commissioners Graham, Daeke, and Ritter were elected in 2014 and were members of the most recent previous board) but I will outline the most recent series of unfortunate events.
In July, the Commissioners voted to move forward with a courthouse design that did not include offices for probation officers. They did this against the advice of a consultant firm they had paid almost 50 grand of tax payer’s money to advise them and without consulting the advisory committee that had been tasked with well, again, advising them on courthouse design. This led to a public and childish spat between commissioner Graham and the head of the consulting firm and, even more embarrassing, a public rebuke from Judge Webb, the Superior Court judge that presides in Moore County.
Then, in September, the commissioners announced they were throwing out the baby with the bath water and going back to the drawing board. This of course means new consultants with more bills for us tax payers.
So…it seems, at least in my humble opinion that schools funding isn’t the only area where our commissioners have been willing to play fast and loose with the facts. But, unlike with school funding, with the new courthouse, they seem to be more than willing to spend (and waste) our money WITHOUT our approval.
Does anyone have the statistics on the creation date of the former courthouse, the land being used for the proposed courthouse, the purchase date of both, the assessment of earnings for both, the tax delineation and the projected earnings for both? To form any quality discussion we need those figures, dates, the square footage, the origination documentation regarding the timeline, the official mandate for funding, the official cessation for funding for “other” projects in lieu of the courthouse and the projected income.
I do know, in listening to the new Sheriff, that there is a projection of earnings for moving female and juvenile inmates to the old jailhouse by nearly 200 cells at nearly $200.00 per day. With the existing cell base (I don’t have that figure) and the new redeployed cells – it amasses to a couple million in annual revenue.
Personally, I believe in the system of law and in law enforcement. I see a lot of prosecution that is fluff here and then a lot of criminal activity that is walked. And, a lot of hokey pokey regarding who’s who and adjudication that is improper. Rules and regulations shouldn’t be malleable toward what family’s member is in court – it should reflect the law – but politics seize the day; however, the fear of revenue fixation on cell count is this – it is the same in hospitals or rehabilitation facilities to bed count – when cells are empty adjudication will be harsher to fill the cells and acquire the revenue – when cells are full adjudication will be lighter to keep from needing cells that do not exist.
Additionally, movement from cells in jail to penitentiaries and/or prisons will also be reliant on jail cell mining – if they are full – more movement to prisons – if they are light we’ll keep more serious offenders in jail with less security until there is an ability to fill cells because it is a basis for revenue. The jailhouse system should not be a basis for community revenue – it has too much reasonable fallout toward adjudication and verdicts because of the “need” of the locality to earn that revenue. So we become a County with County seat earning capacity based on crime and we don’t want crime in order to grow the community in a quality manner. It would seem wiser to move the prison to a more remote location with holding bays for court prosecution only in the locality.
We need to determine unique revenue streams of a nature of abundance based on a growth exponential derived from the arts, sciences, benevolence, historic significance, etc. not on adjudication, prosecution and crime. However, I do applaud a proactive legal system that is ethically driven, fair, secure and ensures citizen safety first and foremost. I happen to love our police department and proactive sheriff deputies who have quality training and ethics coupled with honesty and a conceptual awareness for constitutional rights in action.
There are grants for body cams from the FBI and other gear and training our law enforcement could garner that are in the hundreds of thousands. There are grants for arts, sciences and programs relative to same fixated on localities such as Carthage. There are big grants for head start programs that Carthagians could acquire and apply for – there is federal funding our community can acquire for brownstones (town buildings) for renovation and reformation – I’m happy to assist with grant applications I’ve been performing same for over thirty (30) years with an 85% or higher return on investment among mixed-diverse clientele not sure wins. Also, we have military bases nearby that require SOF skills training sets and also varied types of training locations – that many town sites could proffer to the community.
While embracing the current system of the County that is largely punitive in nature – we should envision new revenue streams utilizing our existing infrastructure to keep the essence of our history but renovate these structures using grant and federal funds in an efficient manner. There is no need to fear federal and grant funding – it uplifts rather than redirect. My two cents for what it is worth.
My PS regarding conjecture, retorts and decency when commenting regarding politics locally:
PS – in our discourse on topics such as this – we should pivot our conversational fodder to that of uplifting one another in prayerful consideration so that opposing views can be aired with stalwart rhetoric that our Heavenly Father would deem appropriate among us as his children – or for agnostics . . . we should speak to one another in the act of a conscious stream of intellectual capitulation wherein we lift our discourse to reflect the stream of consciousness we desire for the future of Carthage . . .
ERA Talk Sparks Bitter Exchange Over Race, Equality in Carthage
The brow-bashing that took place at the Town Commission meeting where a member of the League of Women Voters from Pinehurst (of all places) was insulted was insidious. Why, why, why would Town Leadership representing citizens (not themselves) place our town’s reputation in such a poor light of such disdainful disharmony?
We, as Carthagians, look like the laughing stock.
The political figureheads in our County and Town need to begin realizing they are not elected for personal opines – they are elected to represent the citizens and that means “all” citizens.
We need the League of Women Voters to want to come to Carthage – women live here too.
We need to be gracious in hearing other people’s opinions – no matter what we think personally. And, such rancor by long-standing commissioners makes it difficult for all commissioners to feel any level of comfort in voicing their thoughts on a matter that they know their constituents may represent, but long-standing commissioners almost get fist-a-cuffs going.
An elected official has to be enabled to remove personal conjecture from a discussion about citizenry and look at what citizens desire and sometimes that might mean that they have to put aside their emotions for the community’s voters who “may” have elected them but “may also” have a view or two that they do not correlate to the elected official. And, rancor does not allow those officials, who remove personal conjecture from a discussion to join in the discourse.
It is then, an Official’s duty to hear their citizenry and allow their key decision-making to be rendered in upholding the reason for their election – the trust they’ll do what we elect them to do. We are better than this tomfoolery and nonsensical high school antics.
Let’s all pray, and ask for Heavenly, intervention to uplift our community to be more than water cooler tales and sordid outcomes of what are citizen meetings that should elevate our Town for the people who live here. When will the next League of Women Voters representative grace our Town Meetings?
And, to the League of Women Voters, I have no idea if you received a formal apology, but I’m extending a formal apology for our Town. Many of us were appalled, and so disappointed, in how you were treated. I know that Mrs. Farr, who passed recently, was a good member for many years and I am friends with her son and family – I’m very sorry the Town Council wasn’t as gracious and abundantly loving as I know she was.
We are collectively very sorry you endured an altercation in visiting our Town’s meeting with information for us to be edified in under-standing impending potential legislation that we “need” to be informed regarding, and that you were not telling us what to believe, as was depicted.
Let’s pray for Carthage and see an image of beautification and growth and propriety and healthy outcomes based on quality living and innovative resources while revitalizing our community for revenue bursts that build citizenry through things other than social services, healthcare and litigation.
And, I sent a Letter to the Editor of a local news publication – let’s see if it gets printed.
What about your community? Small, insular, localities seem to have the most difficult time in creating a unified voice that all voters can benefit from . . .
If your town is getting it right . . . let’s hear what is happening.
If they are getting it wrong . . . let’s hear that too.
Perhaps we can arrive at solutions to share with our local leaders.
About the author: Ms. Donna L. Quesinberry is a resident of Carthage North Carolina, and lives in the Historic District in the J. F. Cole House, created in 1889. Originally from the metropolitan Washington DC area, she has resided in Hawaii, California, Florida, Virginia, and Maryland. Donna has published in excess of twenty thousand journalistic quality publications and was a syndicated columnist for many years, including business documentation and solicitations as well as books and poetry. She is a mother of five successful adult children and Grandmere’ to eleven (11) les enfants petits. Currently, she is working on a new book while publishing authors’ works, performing grant and proposal efforts and continuing as a publication guru.
And, visit her on social media at:
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/msdonnalquesinberry
- Twitter: @donnaink
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/donnaink