Conservative Viewpoints

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Stunning reversal for Waynesboro City Council…but why?

Posted by Stephen on April 14, 2007

Waynesboro City Council stunned city residents when they reversed a hard position for funding the Wayne Theatre project. Stating that the time wasn’t right for such an amendment, Nancy Dowdy, Lorie Smith and Tom Reynolds agreed to withdraw their request of $1 million dollars for the Wayne Theatre.

Dowdy, of all people, led the way with a well prepared statement. She asked to have the Wayne Theatre contribution she proposed last month taken off the table because, she stated, the city was facing too many other high-profile demands to take on such a burden now.

“I’m not saying this is something we shouldn’t consider in the future or find a way to do in the future, but I don’t think it’s something we can do at this time,” she said.

Dowdy went on to add that she believes that a tax cut is possible. Smith and Reynolds agreed on both points. Just last month all three had suggested they would support the current rate, despite record increases in property assessments that have caused yearly real estate tax bills to increase by as much as 40%.

Now the question that begs to be asked is, why?

Clearly the big three would have passed the Wayne Theatre initiative had it been put to a vote. However, what is equally clear is that there was a strong response from the community of Waynesboro regarding the theatre issue. Voters were assured the Wayne would not be an issue again after last year’s election. The suggestion that council had some sort of mandate to move forward with the Wayne simply because Dowdy was reelected and Smith narrowly beat out Reo Hatfield was inaccurate.

Was that enough, or is there something else looming? The prepared statements by Dowdy and Smith couldn’t have been more calculated and measured. Could Dowdy, Smith and Reynolds be biding their time while they reassess their game plan to get the city tax payers to foot the bill for the Wayne?

Dowdy left such a door open when she stated that “I’m not saying this is something we shouldn’t consider in the future or find a way to do in the future…” Smith concurred, and with that it is clear that the issue certainly is not dead, not that it ever was.

Could City Council be waiting for a new election with hopes of stacking the council with individuals that see tax payer funds as nothing more than building blocks to be used for pet projects and personal agendas rather than the necessities that Waynesboro citizen’s desire?

Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain, there is a game plan in place and citizens of Waynesboro will have to wait to see the other shoe drop before it is known what they have in stake for us. In the mean time we can breath easier. It seems that the notion that government should avoid funding private enterprise with tax payer funds survived a difficult test. We can all be happy about that.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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