The following viewpoint from the Cherokee Scout newspaper is trying to discredit the Cherokee County 9-12 Project because citizens asked the county’s commissioners to defund an Agenda 21 project called the Southwestern Commission. The article is shown below in its entirety. Although the Cherokee County 9-12 Project helped organize a citizen response, I did not see a 9-12 Resolution or any mention of the 9-12 Project at the June 18, 2012 Commissioner’s meeting. (Video of the meeting is uploading now)
So the Cherokee Scout is labeling any citizen who is against funding the Southwestern Commission as a 9-12er? This is not a bad label for me personally as the North Carolina 912 Project Coordinator but I am sure that Democrat Steve Jordon who supported defunding this commission would be surprised at this label. The two commissioners who did “not buckle to political pressure” were both Republican: a fact the paper conveniently left out. They also left out that both serve on this commission.
But the paper did put the following in their piece:
The 9-12 resolution mirrors the Republican National Commission resolution that was passed this year.
If the paper’s assertions for all of the good that the commission has done for the county are true, this is the best $18,000 per year ever spent. The paper conveniently left out any costs to the county associated with the project list. The Hiwassee Valley Pool & Wellness Center is draining county money even though it was supposed to be self-sufficient. For more information concerning the county’s cost for this center, read an excerpt from an article in the Cherokee Scout on April 17, 2012:
Cherokee County taxpayers have been funding $40,000 to $80,000 of the yearly operating budget of almost $400,000 for the Hiwassee Valley Pool & Wellness Center.
“A lot of people are under the impression that the county pays all [of the center’s costs],” center manager Sheri Brydebell said.
The pool and wellness center opened in 2007 as an enterprise fund. It is owned by Cherokee County but operates under its own budget, Brydebell said. “At some point, we expect to be self sufficient,” she said. “What the county contributes is a small amount to pay, especially when you look at some of the other county departments.”
Brydebell will ask county commissioners for about $80,000 for the next fiscal year. The yearly operating expense usually is between $389,000-$400,000. Some of the center’s equipment is beginning to need more maintenance. There is a $1 million, 40-year note on the facility.
So the county pays $18,000 per year so that it can pay another $80,000 next year on the Wellness Center. If this one example is indicative of the “benefits” of the Southwestern Commission, the county’s future is increased debt servicing.
It appears that the Scout is trying to make up news instead of reporting it.
SW Commission does good
The Cherokee County 9-12 Project is trying to flex – or test – its local political muscle in a bold way, as it is targeting the United Nations through the regional Southwestern Commission.
The 9-12 members have asked county commissioners – twice – about not funding the regional organization because of its alleged ties to the United Nations’ Agenda 21.
The project claims Agenda 21 is a “comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism.” The 9-12 resolution mirrors the Republican National Commission resolution that was passed this year. Agenda 21 was started in 1992. Since it has been 20 years since it first came up, we hardly believe this should be a priority for local politicians today.
Southwestern Commission Director Bill Gibson denies any ties to the United Nations and doesn’t know much about Agenda 21.
He did point a few things the commission has done for the county since 2000: Valley River sewer interceptor to control flow of sewage to treatment plant; Cherokee County economic development strategy; Happy Top sewer; Ranger Elementary/Middle School sewer; Hiwassee Dam School sewer; Andrews-Murphy water interconnect; Andrews alternate water analysis; Tomotla un-sewered analysis; helped with Lowe’s water-sewer line; Marble water system upgrade; helped find a N.C. Rural Center grant for the Hiwassee Valley Pool & Wellness Center; conversion of Industrial Opportunities Inc. building to Tri-County Community College’s Applied Technology Center; Regal Street/Pleasant Valley sewer; and GPS mapping of Andrews’ sewer system.
The Southwestern Commission has helped this county greatly, and we applaud two commissioners for not buckling to political pressure.