Craven Board of Commissioners Meeting- Brouhaha Heats Up

ruhWatchdog Report
Craven County Board of Commissioners Meeting
March 6, 2017
This report is going to be a little different. I stirred up a hornet’s nest of reaction with the petition I made to the Board at the beginning of the meeting. This became apparent during the Commissioners’ reports at the end of the meeting. Let me tell you about it…
MY PETITION
I’m Hal James. I live at 305 Calico Drive in Craven County, and I speak on behalf of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association.
I want you to know that I’m really sorry that I feel the need to say what I’m about to say.
CCTA’s Mission Statement identifies us as an organization that advocates for minimum government and maximum freedom. Our mission statement also states that excessive taxation is a complete contradiction of success through the free market system.
Recent elections have clearly shown that a strong majority in all but 5 or 6 states are ready for these changes, too.
Our national government is making tremendous headway toward implementing our beliefs by working toward reducing taxes on both corporations and individuals, eliminating Obamacare, reducing overburdening regulations, and loosening the control that over zealous environmentalist have had on industry and businesses.
The North Carolina General Assembly is moving in that direction as well.
BUT, instead of expressing support for that movement, our Craven County Board of Commissioners have begun to ring their hands at the prospects of reduced funding for their social programs, and they’ve begun casting around for additional sources of revenue. Last year, they implemented a huge increase in our tax rate in spite of the large drop in the value of our homes and other real estate.
Many of the programs that our tax dollars fund interfere with and compete with private business. Some of these programs include FQHCs (two of them now), In-Home Hospice, Trillium (standing between the provider and our tax dollars), broad band installation with an ultimate goal of providing internet into private homes, Community Development Grants (to the degree they benefit individuals), Department of Social Services overreach, Health Department overreach, Medicaid abuse and overreach, Carolina East Hospital’s free rent arrangement and Certificate of Need monopoly, the Economic Development effort’s picking winners and losers, and the Re-entry Program you have embarked on.
This Board offers absolutely no resistance to this spending. Seldom is even a comment made against it. WHY?
Could it possibly be that you are afraid of losing some votes of people who are now dependent on government spending for their continued easy living? Well, this practice puts you in great danger of losing the support of the hard working conservatives who helped put you in office.
AND there is an election coming up next year. Should we citizens of Craven County be looking for someone else to represent us?
REACTIONS TO MY PETITION:
Commissioner Sampson…
“We all work together, as we should, to help people in need.”
My response…
Our US Constitution places constraints on the government’s taking from some people in order to give to others. Charity should be done by families, neighbors, churches, benevolent organizations and the like. Remember, government cannot give to anyone what it does not take from others.
While he’s an extremely good man, I believe Commissioner Sampson confuses our duty as individual Christians with the duties of government.
Commissioner Tyson…
Commissioner Tyson praised the CarolinaEast Hospital as a Five Star Hospital, and said that it’s the 3rd highest rated hospital in the state. He also said that he is proud to serve on its Board. He continued by saying that it is ridiculous to assert that it is a conflict of interest for him to serve on both the Craven County Board of Commissioners and the CarolinaEast Board of Directors.
Commissioner Tyson also stated that the number of county employees had been kept very low, and only recently had employees been added which was due to state mandates. He also said our county taxes are among the lowest in the state.
My response…
CarolinaEast may well be a fine hospital, BUT it is true that Craven County citizens own the land it stands on. It is also true that the county gets no revenue from that source to offset taxes. It is additionally true that CarolinaEast holds a Certificate of Need monopoly granted by the state that outlaws certain surgical procedures from being performed in private physicians’ surgical centers where they can be done safely at a great savings to the patient. AND it is also true that CarolinaEast holds a great deal of money in retained earnings that could enable a reduction in costs to patients and taxpayers.
As to taxes, I believe they could, and should, have been held much lower by this Board REGARDLESS OF WHAT OTHER COUNTIES DO!
As to State mandates, I believe the case of federal and state mandating so much is way overstated. The County’s previous finance office told me that many programs are mandated by the state, but these programs are oversubscribed by the County. I told Commissioner Liner about that conversation, and he said it was the first he had heard of it. However, there is NO SIGN THAT HE HAS INVESTIGATED THAT ALLIGATION. My guess is that he has no intention of doing so.
.
Commissioner Jones…
Commissioner Jones simply thanked the Board for passing another expenditure of funds for the broadband extension to benefit the citizens of his district.

My response…

 

I have no objection to the extension of broadband to schools and libraries (which is the immediate object of the extension). However, the capacity is to be much higher than is needed for such functions.
I object to free internet service to private homes FOR THE SAME REASON I OBJECT TO FREE CELL PHONES FOR PRIVATE CITIZENS. I warned that might be in the works and Attachment #5 of the Agenda states, “Dark fiber availability in the future may someday aid in our overall education effort of getting internet into the homes of rural Craven County.”
If it’s free, you know I object to it, but what if the county charges citizens for it? Well, we’re back to the county’s being in competition with other service providers, SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!
Commissioner Liner…
Commissioner Liner stated that he had vowed in his campaign to never turn down state, federal, or any other dollars that would benefit Craven County citizens, and if that cost him re-election, so be it!
My response…
That attitude, multiplied by the thousands of counties in the United States, is why our government is $20+ trillion dollars in debt. It is the source of a huge threat to the safety and security of our country.
Commissioner Dacey…
Commissioner Dacey began by saying he won’t apologize for the government’s meeting the needs of the people.
Commissioner Dacey also said that he is a victim of “fake news and reporting” on the internet and elsewhere. He sees no conflict with serving on both the Trillium Board and the County Board of Commissioners. He vigorously assaulted my assertion that some Trillium executives are paid annual salaries in the $500,000 range.
Commissioner Dacey stated that he had discussed providing health services with the new administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, and averred that Dr. Price had stated that Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are the best method of delivering services.
Commissioner Dacey went on to say that government had expanded only after commissioners had done their due diligence, and he continued by saying that federal and state mandates had much to do with it.
My Response…
To begin with, let’s review what I wrote in my first report about Commissioner Dacey’s involvement with Trillium; it follows…
“A family member of one of the folks eligible to receive services through Trillium called me to discuss the Trillium service.  She stated that her family member was on a 10 year waiting list for that service!  She said that she knows of many cases where that is true.  She also said that, while this is going on, several employees of Trillium have salaries in the $500,000 range.  It sounds a lot like the Veterans Administration, doesn’t it?”
In my subsequent report after Commissioner Dacey’s visit to my home along with David Peterson, Director of the New Bern Trillium office, to make a presentation to a CCTA Board of Director’s meeting, I reported as follows…
“Commissioner Dacey and Mr. Peterson also stated that I had grossly exaggerated the salaries and compensation of administrators of Trillium. I quickly asked if they had brought us a printout of compensation schedules. Mr. Peterson replied, “No, but the highest are only in the $200,000 range.” ONLY?? This was the reaction of CCTA members in attendance. If, in your work life, you produce something yourself instead of skimming off tax generated dollars for overseeing the distribution of these tax generated dollars to the providers of services, you will surely have the same reaction.”
Incidentally, Mr. Peterson had also stated that other Trillium like organizations had higher salaries and that had been widely reported.
PAINTS A DIFFERENT STORY, DOESN’T IT?
CCTA’s position on FQHCs is well known, Like the NC Certificate of Need law, they restrict free enterprise by creating monopolies and thereby increase the cost of health care for those with insurance and Medicare by having to pay for those who don’t or cannot provide for themselves. It is a well known fact that Medicaid fraud and abuse is widespread. These facilities take in more than it costs to provide the service, so they can then further expand government and the number of employees paid by the government. That’s what organizations like Trillium do.
I have already stated our position on federal and state mandates.
So, while they are often personally charming, interesting people, our current Board of Commissioners’ members do NOT act as would people who agree with CCTA’s mission statement.
Respectfully submitted,

 

Hal James,
CCTA Watchdog Committee Chairman

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