To the editor:
I see from the paper that our mayor is once again dumbfounded. I am not surprised. I would be surprised if His Honor were not dumbfounded when his alarm clock goes off in the morning.
He makes some statements that are just not true, others that are half-truths and others that, well, leave one dumbfounded. Of all the things he said two or three stand out.
First of all, The Exchange prints somewhere in the newspaper about once a year that Scotland County residents do not pay the highest property taxes in the state. According to the tax burden report assembled yearly, Scotland’s tax burden is consistently around 35th from the bottom of the counties in the state. Although our tax rate is the highest in the state, there are about 65 counties in the state where the total tax bill is higher than Scotland’s.
Now one may complain that we are not getting good value for our money, but that is another problem altogether. I’ll admit that when a simple request to build a few new classrooms at an overcrowded school morphed into a proposal to close some schools and build new ones and ended up being estimated to cost somewhere in the $40 million range I was perplexed (and dumbfounded) but I suspect that train was on the tracks before the county commissioners were ever contacted.
I would also like to point out that although the mayor’s office has made a political career out of saying our taxes are too high because we give the public schools too much money for the results we are getting, not once has said office ever hinted that it favored lowering taxes. Instead, if you read carefully over the columns from His Honor’s previous term in office, it is clear lowering taxes isn’t in the game plan at all. The game plan is to divert public school money, money that serves all of Scotland County’s children, into the mayor’s pet projects, most notably his Block Memorial Recreation Center.
And if the mayor applied the same standards to St. Andrew’s University that he applies to the Scotland County public schools he would be giving Mr. and Mrs. McDougald an “F” for taking money under the pretense that St. Andrew’s was an educational institution. Approximately 35 percent of St. Andrew’s undergraduates manage to get a diploma over a six-year enrollment period. The graduation rate at Scotland High School puts that one to shame. To give the mayor credit though, his primary compliment to St. Andrew’s was it pumped money into the community.
Relative to His Honor’s other remarks, I understand it the job of the mayor of Laurinburg is to preside over city council meetings; vote in the case of a tie; and cut a ribbon when a new business opens within the city limits.
I don’t believe that the job description includes lecturing the Board of Education; hectoring the county commissioners; or telling the people of Laurinburg that they are dumb and stupid for continuing to reelect these city council members who don’t understand that His Honor, being both a surgeon and from New Jersey, is far brighter than they are. If he wants to do this, fine, but let him do it on his own stationary, not under the flag of the mayor’s office.