Conservative Viewpoints

"Government is not the solution…it is the problem" -Ronald Reagan



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When is 700K really 1.2 million dollars? When it’s going to the Wayne Theatre

Posted by Stephen on May 24, 2007

There has been a correction made to this column. It has been pointed out by Chris Graham of the New Dominion  that I make references to “sources close to the wayne project,” when the truth is there is one source. According to Graham, I should point out that the source close to the project that I refer to is a member of City Council. While Graham feels that this source shouldn’t be considered close to the project, it is my contention that anyone on city council should be considered closer to this project than any of us in the general public. If they aren’t then I do not feel they should be on city council.

The majority on Waynesboro’s City Council has been pushing funding of the Wayne Theatre for more than a year despite promises that tax payers wouldn’t have to shoulder the project. Despite tremendous feedback from citizens asking that council reconsider their new position, the majority did not relent.

After Mayor Tom Reynolds suggested that unused tax revenue previously allocated to the regional jail should be used on the Wayne Theatre he announced that the city tax payers should also donate an additional $700 thousand dollars over ten years. Nancy Dowdy and Lorie Smith agreed and in another 3-2 vote the measure was passed.

Unfortunately, citizens have not been told the entire story. According to papers received by Conservative Viewpoints, Bill Hausrath and the WTA are anticipating a much larger sum of tax payer dollars.

Tax payers were told that the majority had agreed to a donation of $70,000 dollars a year for ten years, but the reality is the WTA is expecting to receive $119,500 per year for ten years beginning in 2009. The actual commitment by the majority on council is $1.195 million dollars bringing the total commitment thus far to $1.45 million tax payer dollars when this year’s $300 thousand dollar allocation is figured in to the total.

According to a source close to the project the WTA is preparing to ask the city tax payers to cosign a loan for the theatre in order to secure enough funds to be able to receive matching grants, also in the form of tax payer dollars. This move is apparently necessary because the fund raising campaign by the WTA has fallen well short of its goals in collected funds.

Such a move by the majority on council would tie tax payers to the Wayne for many years to come and would require that tax payers fund loan payments in the event the theatre is unable to meet its financial responsibilities.

Of course, the WTA is planning on giving the theatre back to the city once they have secured the state grants they are working toward. Once the theatre is back in the hands of the city council, tax payers can be sure that they will be asked to fund maintenance costs and operational costs for the indefinite future.

This has been a master plan well orchestrated by the WTA, it supporters, and the current majority on city council consisting of Tom Reynolds, Nancy Dowdy, and Lorie Smith. The bleeding may not stop until the WTA gets the 3.5 million dollars that they wanted in the first place, but were denied in a non vote decision by council in 2005.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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2 Responses to “When is 700K really 1.2 million dollars? When it’s going to the Wayne Theatre”

  1. Patty said

    I enjoy conservative view points. I want to commend you on your factual representation of the Wayne Theater issue. It is refreshing to read. I have been very disheartened that our city has been put through so much for the sake of political positioning for the future elections.
    You are truly the exception in your business. Keep up the superior work of informing the public.

  2. Thanks Patty. It’s not easy when local writers become as blinded by their support for the project as I am tainted by my opposition. In the end, it is frustrating to witness what is happening to Waynesboro. While we struggle to provide water for our fire department and tree streets residents, and while we fail to address basic needs for our citizens our city council feels it is appropriate to spend over a million dollars on a private enterprise. Worse yet, they justify their actions by buying the cool aid produced by the WTA in the form of propaganda and misinformation to citizens that have lost faith in the leadership of our city.

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