UNION — The impact of tax increases and the need for the people of Union County to organize and make their voices heard in local government were among the subjects discussed at Monday’s meeting of the Concerned Citizens United for a Better Union County.
The meeting, which was held at the Dave Fant Building on North Pinckney Street, drew a crowd of approximately 30 people, among them Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair, Union County Council Member Kacie Petrie, and State Rep. Mike Anthony. Monday was the first meeting of the group which organizers hope will become a means of organizing the people of Union County to present their concerns to and work with Union County Council and Union City Council to address those concerns.
A major concern voiced during Monday’s meeting was about the impact of taxes and tax increases
“We’re going to try to form a group of citizens for a better Union County,” Howard Gibson, one of meeting’s organizers said. “We want people to voice their opinions. We want a group to be able to go into the council meetings and say we’re tired of this raising taxes to fix the problems. We can’t continue to raise taxes. Sometimes you’ve got to get leaner, you’ve got to run it leaner and it can be done.”
Gibson pointed out that private companies like Cone Mills and Timken have had to lay off workers. He said instead of resorting to raising taxes, the city and the county should look at laying off municipal and county employees.
Also addressing the crowd was Gibson’s fellow organizer Ray Treadway who pointed out that a tax increase is a pay cut for taxpayers. He also pointed out that people who rent also feel the impact of tax increases because when property taxes increase their landlord must raise their rent to pay for that increase.
“It may not seem that a tax increase the citizens but it directly affects the citizens,” Treadway said.
Brooks Carwile, another of the group’s organizers, pointed that the decisions made by elected officials can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Like Gibson, Carwile pointed to the layoffs that have occurred which he said makes it hard for the unemployed to pay the higher taxes levied by county and municipal government. Carwile also pointed out that taxes and increases in taxes negatively impact manufacturers, many of whom he said are just barely making it.
Carwile pointed out that a factory has to make a profit to stay open and called for the councils to keep the profit margin in mind as they make their decisions. He said government should make its decisions based on the profit margin.
While critical of the councils’ decisions to raise taxes, Gibson, Carwile and Treadway said they wanted to work with county and city councils to address the problems facing the community.
“The community needs to join back together,” Treadway said. “We’ve got to bring government officials back out to see what we’re going through. We deal with a lot of things they don’t know about. We need to work with them and make a change in Union County. We want to see Union County grow and prosper.”
The group’s next meeting will be Tuesday, May 28.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.