Sunday, September 19, 2010

Commissioner Offers Tax Increases to Make Up for WAVE Budget Deficit

WAVE budget deficits a growing burden for taxpayers

In an email to constituents Friday, New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield offered a vehicle registration tax and a 1/4% sales tax hike as options to make up for looming WAVE transit budget shortfalls. He stated he was not advocating one way or the other, but was looking for feedback on the subject. (Read the complete email here.) 

NC House Bill 148 was signed into law in September of 2009 . Barfield explained the bill as follows: “…the legislation allows the authority (WAVE Transit) the ability to seek a resolution from the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for a vehicle registration fee of up to $7.00 per vehicle and/or for the commissioners to call a referendum levying ¼ cent to the sales tax with the proceeds exclusively benefiting public transportation in the county.” The additional taxes would be used to cover everything from new buses to employee benefits.

The email does not mention raising rider fares to cover the associated cost of use.

Even with a decline in ridership of nearly 20%, the list of WAVE spending projects continues to grow. The new WAVE transit station, nicknamed the “Taj-Ma-Wave” by some for it’s over the top design, is currently under construction behind Costco. The project includes an allocation of up to $40,000 for a single piece of artwork.

The downtown multi modal center is another project being pushed by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority (WAVE) that would ultimately be funded by taxpayers as well. Barfield sits on the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority board. Who was it that said, “Build it and they will come?”

Commissioner Barfield asked for feedback. Mine is below. Please take time to let him know your opinion regarding another tax increase. His email address is

Dear Commissioner Barfield
Please, please, please do not even consider raising our taxes. We are being taxed to death, literally, a 1/4% at a time. The current economic condition of our state and country should serve as a slap in the face that things must change. The spending and taxing has to come to an end. We are headed full speed at the unforgiving wall of economic destruction, a crash it will take our country a long time to recover from, assuming we are able to recover at all. The “free ride” is over.  Working families simply can’t afford it anymore.      

Monday, August 23, 2010

Derail the Wilmington Multi-Modal Center Now

A bad idea ultimately costing taxpayers millions

Ahhhh....the multi-modal center. A tantalizing mix of city buses, taxis and trains to nowhere, all in one magical location. We thought it had gone away, but now it has reared its ugly head again. What is the multi-modal center really? A perfect example of the massive government waste that has put our city, our county, our state and our nation in the dire financial straights we find ourselves in today.

Thousands have already been wasted on studies. It will cost tens of millions dollars to build, and in the end, taxpayers will be left holding the bag paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and yearly maintenance cost.

City Councilwoman Laura Padgett is quoted as saying “We need this.” “We” need this? She says we need it “to get those synergies.” “Synergies” of what? A bunch of taxis and city buses all in the same parking lot? Apparently “synergy” in the government speak means “a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.” If that's the case, maybe we need a little less synergy and a little more common sense.

Here's the bill of goods supporters are trying to sell us:
1) That people riding a bus are going to go to this multi-modal center, get off the bus, and then take a taxi some place else in the city(that also has bus service!)
2) That the person in a taxi, rather than going from point A to point B like a
taxi is suppose to, is going to choose instead to be dropped off at the multi modal center, so they can then take a bus to bus stop, and then walk the rest of the way to their destination.
3) And finally, if you think #1 & #2 are going to happen, then you also must believe that all the people riding in the buses and taxis are going to be lining up to take the train out of town.
You’re right. None of these scenarios make any sense, but that’s the logic behind the need for the multi modal center.

Oh yeah, and bringing a train into downtown Wilmington. That sounds like a great idea, too!

Keep in mind these are the same folks that approved an expenditure of $40,000 for a single piece of artwork for the new WAVE Transit Station behind Costco. They simply don’t have the best interest of the taxpayer in mind.

This boondoggle will ultimately be another tax burden on the citizens of Wilmington and New Hanover County. There are only a few people driving this project, but if we don’t take time to stand up and say enough is enough, it will be built.

Below are some of our local elected officials that serve on the Transportation Advisory Committees. Take a moment now to email and tell them this multi-modal hub is a massive waste of taxpayer dollars and to please stop this project now. Contact your state legislators as well.

Related links of interest:
WWAY TV3 Coverage of this story
Star News Article Downtown transit hub getting back on track
Star News Article Padgett wants seat on N.C. Board of Transportation
Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization