The recent Wilkes Journal-Patriot article about proposed water rate increases in the Town of North Wilkesboro’s draft budget raised several questions. Why now?
There hasn’t been a rate increase in five years, so why now during a pandemic when many have lost their jobs and are wondering how they are going to pay their bills and feed their families, and some have quarantine fatigue?
It was a hard pill to swallow to read the town manager say that in five years the town would have a “sixfold” surplus because of this rate increase, when many are struggling today. Timing is everything, and this timing was lousy.
Water is an essential commodity and our town must maintain our water system, but shouldn’t that be ongoing instead of waiting until it’s a “high priority”? North Wilkesboro officials have not been good money managers for a long time.
Look at the $90,000 plus spent for a splash pad at Smoot Park. Two years later, it’s a mudhole with pipes. No splash pad or kiddie pool. Look at the money spent for our streetscapes, but yet now we need to raise water rates to ensure our water system is safe and functional? Look at the buildings the city brought up to code, sold at a big loss, and buildings are still empty.
During this pandemic, the town manager decided there would be no limb/street pickup, but yet town employees are still getting paid? Why no street pickup? Why no city mowing? Will our bills be adjusted for this decrease in services?
Last question. What are the roles of town manager and town commissioners?
North Wilkesboro, N.C.