Last week the New Hanover County Sheriff’s department found itself in the middle of a second internal investigation. This one involved a helicopter pilot that appears to have been involved in an altercation of some type while in uniform. Details were difficult to come by but details continued to slip out. Nowhere in the story is the name of the sheriff (Ed McMahon) mentioned. Probably a good ploy since he’s up for election and it would have triggered a Google alert. The employee in question has resigned, but questions remain:
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The helicopter pilot for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office resigned Saturday. Lt. Scott Gerow was under internal investigation for an incident earlier this month.
As WWAY was first to report last week, Gerow was involved in some sort of incident two weekends ago. A written report from the county dispatch center said the initial call it received involving Gerow was about communication of threats.
Brunswick Commissioners became the intense focus of conservatives as it was revealed that they were getting as much as $30k+ in mileage and meeting reimbursements for their annual efforts for the citizens of Brunswick County. At GOP meetings and commissioner meeting the commissioners took a hardline stance defending their actions. Tonight may be different however. With the disclosure by staff that their policies are rare it is likely they will pull back on their spending ways. The question really remains as to whether they will be contrite or have humility in their actions at this evening’s meeting. From the State Port Pilot:
County commission chairman Bill Sue’s July-to-July totals for meeting and mileage reimbursements exceeded $21,000; vice-chairman Phil Norris’s exceeded $29,000; commissioner Marty Cooke’s exceeded $30,000; commissioner Scott Phillips’ exceeded $11,000 and commissioner Charles Warren’s exceeded $26,000.
After a lambasting from the public at the board’s last regular meeting, and after some commissioners defended their practices, the board directed Lawing to research other counties’ policies. Lawing and his staff subsequently eyed 20 North Carolina counties and learned that most of them do not provide per-meeting reimbursements.
Finding support for this policy was rare and letters to all local papers and TV blasted the wasteful practice. Now we learn that the commissioners also receive $4k in “slush funds” to distribute to any charitable enterprise they see fit. From one hot fire to another.
Meeting is tonight at 6pm in Bolivia at the County Office.Read full article » No Comments »
The WAVE Transit system in Wilmington needs money, lots of it and one of the New Hanover County Commissioners is suggesting taxpayers might not be doing enough to support the empty buses. In his newsletter Barfield quoted the following from WAVE officials:
In New Hanover County, the legislation allows the authority 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 1/4 cent to the sales tax with the proceeds exclusively benefiting public transportation in the county.
$7 per vehicle and a potential 1/4 cent sales tax, that’s WAVE’s solution? As Reagan once said, “like a baby in a diaper, all appetite on one end and no sense of responsibility on the other.” Reading WAVE’s report is troubling. For instance, in their segment entitled “operating costs” they never mention any costs but rather the rationalization of services. Barfield nor WAVE ever address the costs problems from a ridership standpoint in suggesting that rates should increase, rather it’s always the subsidies that get discussed.
What is NOT included are the numbers of actual riders using WAVE, which routes have the highest ridership, where are they losing ridership or any detailed synopsis of spending. It is simply an excuse to begin asking for more money. Over at John Locke, national transit specialist (and SmartGrowth watchdog) Randall O’Toole gives damning information about North Carolina’s transit woes. From their report:
For every dollar collected in fares from transit riders, the average transit system in America requires more than $2 from taxpayers for operating subsidies plus more than $1 for capital improvements and maintenance. In 2008, the federal government collected about $1.11 billion in user fees from North Carolina highway users but returned only $656 million to the state for highways. Adding the federal, state, and local numbers together, North Carolina highways users paid about $203 million more user fees than was spent on roads in 2007. North Carolina highway users are subsidizing other programs at the rate of slightly more than a penny per passenger mile. The total cost of driving in North Carolina is no more than 22 cents per passenger mile. By comparison, the state average cost of public transit is $1.15 per passenger mile, nearly $1 of which is subsidized by non-transit users. Annual capital costs and depreciation add another $71 million to the cost of running North Carolina transit. Taxpayers lose $249 million per year on transit systems in a dozen NC cities. Bus transit costs taxpayers an average of 85 cents a passenger mile. Subsidies to the Charlotte light rail are several times greater. North Carolina transit riders pay an average of 72 cents every time they board a bus, while taxpayers pay an average of more than $3 to support that trip. Driving is more energy efficient and produces less carbon emissions than almost any transit system in North Carolina. Currently transit agencies have incentives from Congress to choose high-cost forms of transit.
Other bloggers have commented on this matter and WWAY is also concerned. At what point do the citizens realize that the answer isn’t always just raising taxes?Read full article » No Comments »