The following letter was sent by former Henderson Mayor Robert G. (Chick) Young, Jr. to an unknown number of Henderson residents recently. This letter is dated September 17, 2007, and was postmarked from Kittrell, North Carolina.
CITY COUNCIL ELECTION 10/9/07
I am writing you to express my deep concern over the lack of support for our library voiced and voted on by City Council members Elissa Yount (Ward 3 At Large), Lynn Harper (Ward 2 at large), Bobby Gupton (Ward 2) and Ranger Wilkerson (Ward 4 At Large). I believe that the new Perry Library is one of Henderson’s greatest assets, deserving of the City’s full support and funding to a level that will enable the Perry Library to fully service our citizens. As you may or may not know, the 4 councilpersons listed above are members of the City Council budget committee that recommended an across the board 12.5% decrease in funding for the Perry Library for the 2007-2008 budget. All of this was proposed without ever consulting with the County Commissioners, who jointly fund this and other programs with the City. Although this action was ultimately defeated, the Council still voted to cut Library funding and they plan, if re-elected, to work to cut City funding not just for the Library but for other critical, quality of life programs jointly funded by the City and County, (such as the recreation department and 911 emergency services) by 12.5 % per year, until the City no longer provides any support for our Library and other critical City/County funded programs.
This same block of 4 councilpersons were also 4 of the 5 votes that fired our City manager of over 22 years and had him escorted out of the City Council meeting by police like he was some type of criminal and later hired a pre-selected candidate that had neither the educational or work experience to qualify in any way to be our next City Manager. The next city council meeting saw this same group of 4 vote together to fire the City’s Federal Lobbyist, the Ferguson Group that had over their 3 year tenure as the City’s lobbyist in Washington, DC, successfully obtained over $4.6 Million in Federal Grants. Grants of $2 Million for the Library project and $1.5 million for improvements to our area’s sewer & water system. An extremely strong return for a total cost to the City of approximately $230,000. Since firing the Ferguson Group, 20 months ago, the City has received one small grant of approximately $ 100,000 and nothing else. In the meantime, 7 towns in North Carolina recently
announced receiving a total of $27 Million in Sewer and water system Federal Grants 6 of those 7
towns were represented by a lobbying group….Guess who…that’s right – The Ferguson Group. This decision cost Henderson residents Millions of missed, free grants to help fix our sewer problems!!!!
Many of us recognize that our area and its citizens are dealing with challenging economic times as a result of changes to tlie global economy thai has resulted in a significant loss of jobs in our area. However, our hope for the future lies in Henderson’s effort to present ourselves in a positive light as a community that cares about its citizens and strives to provide area residents with quality of life services and educational programs that not only benefit its citizens but will, resultantly also help to attract new businesses and industries to our area. This, quite frankly, is not what has been happening these past two years. I believe strongly that Henderson needs a NEW DIRECTION. One built on positive cooperation with each other, sound, professional, financial management of our citizens’ tax dollars and cooperation with our fellow elected officials at the County.
Our City Council election on Tuesday, October 9th is a critical one for the future of Henderson. I ask for your support in electing Mike Inscoe (Ward 2 At Large), Mike Rainey (Ward 2), Brenda Peace (Ward 3 At Large) and George Daye (Ward 4 At Large) along with re-election of Bernard Alston (Ward 1 At Large), Mary Emma Evans (Ward 1), Gary Daeke (Ward 3) and Lonnie Davis (Ward 4). Pete O’Geary is the right choice to be our next Mayor. Vote for a positive change and for these candidates that want to move this fair City forward, not backward.
Retired Mayor, City of Henderson 1979-2003