The following rant is inspired by one of the 23 items on city council’s current consent agenda. If memory serves and interpolations were accurate, the matter came before council before, but it had to be postponed due to statutory deadlines. At the time, I was secretly hoping council would try to go ahead, and their plans could be squelched by a nitpicky lawyer. Well, here are two versions of the story as it now unfolds:

  • Synergese:
    “[Three areas are] recognized as up and coming economic engines for the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Western North Carolina. [Their] urban vitality . . . is critical to all citizens. . . . This request is in alignment with Council’s 2013-2014 Strategic Plan for Focus Area 1: Economic Growth and Fiscal Responsibility (seek to ensure a sustainable financial future for Asheville by promoting an environment where citizens and businesses want to live, work and invest). In particular, it is part of a coordinated strategy for Goal 1: Invest and leverage investment in community infrastructure.”

  • English:
    The city needs money. The state allows cities to go more into debt using a tool called SOB’s if they can first create a Municipal Service District. The statute also allows cities to levy special taxes in MSD’s. The city therefore set out to identify areas that could become MSD’s. The city ironically claims the strategy will be funded with existing revenue streams and debt service plans that were created with the intention of pursuing the MSD’s.

SOB’s for MSD’s are explained in Article 23 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Note Sections 160A-542 & 543.

That said, this isn’t fair. Taxpayers are paying the city to go into debt. Taxpayers can’t afford to take on any debt with the hope of paying it off anymore. People in the productive sector that want to build or expand almost without exception must now go to government, not only for permission, but for money. And why stop at building? People have to turn to government for food and shelter. At what point do the egos on city council feel they have entrusted too much responsibility with one group?

“Oh, but we’re perfectly loving and nurturing!” they answer. “We’re so intelligent we would never make a sizeable mistake. We hire the best experts to do our work. We respect diversity, and we would never take sides.” You ask what if their political opponents were to stuff ballot boxes and seize the chunk of power they are amassing for personal purposes. Then, they will respond, “Lois Lerner used her power appropriately to get rid of citizen ideologues who wanted to kill babies,” while secretly gloating in the satisfaction that there is no anti-Lois Lerner trying to force an agenda of noninitiation of force, creating a big bureaucracy to amass power to put it back where it belongs and eliminate bureaucracy, etc., etc. Then, they will add, “This isn’t going to cost anything because the money is already in the budget, and when government gives money to private industry, it multiplies 200-fold. We saw it on the colored PowerPoint bar charts.” You can tack on, “You’re so stupid, you should be glad I waste my time on you.”