Ladies and gentlemen I will tell you, contrary to what the mayor says at the top of his ad in the Southeast Sun Wednesday, Enterprise works because the people of Enterprise work, not the mayor.
I was surprised at the arrogance and utter disregard for the people of Enterprise conveyed in his ad. I have been told this arrogance exists and witnessed it on occasion (You Can’t Please Everyone and Loud and Clear are two examples) but seeing it displayed in an ad that is trying to get people to vote for him was unexpected.
Enterprise works because the people of Enterprise work.
Additionally, Kenneth Boswell will only continue to work FOR Enterprise if he is re-elected on Tuesday.
For the mayor to claim full credit for Enterprise working and completely ignore and disparage the people of Enterprise who do make it work is the ultimate example of arrogance on display for all to see. I have heard this condescension is not uncommon to see when the cameras are off but the smiling, everything is fine, nothing to see here look is what is normally displayed for the public.
In one sense that makes this part of his ad very honest. This is how he really feels and acts when he is off-camera.
Contrast that to these statements in Milton Shipman’s ad on page A7 in the same paper.
Together we can accomplish much through an open door policy.
Together we can change the way we operate.
Together we can again enjoy a life free from scrutiny…free from constantly looking over our shoulder…free from having to obey the decree of keeping our mouths shut and our heads down.
Let me assure each and everyone of you that everyone will be heard in my administration. All will be treated fairly.
We can place control of our city back into your hands when you go to the polls August 23.
There is not much I can add to that. The contrast in thought and attitude is blatant.
Money for Schools
At the top of Kirk Donaldson’s ad on page A13 is a section in a different color I did not originally recognize as part of his ad with the heading,
$50 Million For Enterprise Schools
When a devastating tornado rained disaster and tragedy on the City of Enterprise, it took leadership and determination to rebuild our schools and our community. Kirk Donaldson stepped up with the positive leadership that gained $50 million new dollars for Enterprise.
After seeing this I was confused because I remember Tommy Johnson saying he had given the schools $50 million in his Peanuts and Politics comments as one of his accomplishments. It is very telling to me so see none of the incumbent candidates mention they even worked together with the other councilmen and mayor. They present these “accomplishments” as something they each did individually. That makes a statement. If they do not even share the credit with their fellow council members it is very unlikely they will ever share the credit for anything accomplished or seek input on any future endeavors in Enterprise with any of its mere citizens.
However, you can be certain you will see them just before the next election. Refer to the last 90 days for confirmation.
Government cannot give what it doesn’t take
These statements also reminded me of the fact no governmental entity can give anything it has not taken from someone else. They all conveniently failed to mention all the tax increases they implemented to be able to “give” this money to the schools. I assume they just ran out of ad space for that.
The $50 Million Conundrum
Anyway, regarding the $50 million dollars given to the schools, former Enterprise City Schools Superintendent Jim Reese provided information he has provided before in detail with references which will remind everyone of exactly what they are talking about when they mention this $50 million.
Here is the information Mr. Reese shared again on Facebook recently.
I assume the $50 million Perry’s opponent and other incumbents are referring to when taking credit for giving money to the schools are the $30 million bond issue in 2008 and the $20 million bond issue approved in 2014 (I am not sure all of the latter issue went to the schools).
Although I am grateful for the City’s help to the schools, I should also point out that the City has reaped financial benefits because the 2 one-half cent sales taxes passed to fund the bond issues have generated more money than required to pay for the bonded indebtedness. In addition, in 2008 a 3 and 1/2 mill ad valorem tax was renewed by a vote of the citizens of Enterprise. Revenue from this tax had been going to the nursing home, but the nursing home indicated it could do without those funds. The City, in an ad in a local newspaper, implied that these funds would go to the local schools if the tax was renewed by the voters.
The referendum passed overwhelmingly. That tax now generates close to $1 million a year for the City’s discretionary use.
I understand that every municipality needs money to provide services to the citizens. I have been saying for years, however, that the City has made a lot of money as a result of the destruction of 2 schools. In addition, the City gained control of what was Enterprise Jr. High School, College St. Elementary School and Bates Memorial Stadium. It will also assume control of Coppinville Junior High School when the new school is completed.
In regards to the 3 and 1/2 mill ad valorem tax, Coffee County School Board member and a well informed and involved community member, Shag Laprade, provided a few more details on this subject.
I would like to clear up a major misconception that was told to all the people of Enterprise concerning the 3 1/5 ad valorem tax that was voted in during the 9 December 2008 vote. It was NOT a “renewal” of a tax that had been going to the nursing home. The ad valorem tax that had been passed to assist the nursing home was a tax that was passed and expired on 30 September 2009. When it “EXPIRED” it was over and done.
The vote that took place in December 2008 was for a new tax all together. State representative at the time Terry Spicer requested through the Alabama legislature permission to hold a vote to “RAISE” the ad valorem tax from 7 mil to 10.5 mil beginning on 1 October 2009. Spicer received a letter to submit the request to the legislature and the letter was signed by Boswell, Miller, Johnson, Cooper, Donaldson and Russell. The legislature approved the request to hold the vote. I was told by Steve Hicks that it was “legally and technically” a tax increase but was not really a tax increase. In other words, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is not a duck.
I was against the way it was being sold to the public and requested documentation on all the proceeding from the City Attorney Rainer Cotter and he provided all letters, and the reading of the legislation in Montgomery. All city officials knew they were not being honest with the public by stating the ad valorem tax was a renewal since they had signed request for a vote on a new tax increase to begin 1 October. They also sold it as being for the Enterprise Schools when they knew that was not completely correct.
On the Sunday, 7 December 2008 there was an article in the Enterprise Ledger with my concerns. It was a front page article. Near the end of the article our city officials admitted that the money was not just for the schools but was also to help build a new city hall and fire station.
This information may just be a reminder to you or you may be seeing it for the first time. I am sharing it here so you will have this information to include in your decision making process before you vote in the city elections next Tuesday.
I end this post borrowing from the ending I used in What Works 100% of the time last June.
A Final Question for Enterprise
Is Open Government alive and well in Enterprise or does it need tweaking or full scale changes to make it so?
How each of you individually answer this question should help you determine what you need to do next Tuesday, August 23rd in your voting booth.
Open and transparent government in Enterprise is on the ballot in the form of the candidates challenging the incumbents.
I contend wherever Open Government is implemented and practiced, it will work almost 100% of the time. That includes Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama and these United States of America. It will work for those in office as well as those they serve.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 8/20/2016