Your Opinion: Conference center questions

Dear Editor:

The idea of a conference center and hotel with a subsidy for the conference center brings forth many questions. I’ve always thought the purpose of government was to provide those things that private citizens can not and should not do; not to provide those things which private citizens and businesses decide not to do. Why is the city dead set on building a conference center when it a not a good financial business decision? Has the city done a business plan? If not, why? If so, why has it not been made public?

How does the City Council plan to pay for a subsidy for a conference center? Will a conference center subsidy result in an increase in sales taxes or property taxes? If so, what sales tax rate is planned? If a property tax, how much will assessed valuations be increased?

Will a conference subsidy result in policemen, firemen or other city employees losing their jobs? If reductions in staff, policemen and firemen occur will you also not replace their vehicles, worn out equipment along with not purchasing new and improved equipment that will keep them safe?

Will infrastructure repair and maintenance take a back seat to subsidizing a conference center? That is, will we see a reduction in road repair, snow removal and traffic light repair and replacement to name a few?

With local hotels averaging less than $40 per room per night, per the local CVB website, what financial impact will another hotel have on these businesses? I strongly believe that if a conference center/hotel is built the City of Jefferson, the local chamber and the CVB will promote the new conference center and hotel at the expense of existing businesses. Will the City Council subsidize their losses as they plan to subsidize either the Farmers of Ehrhardt groups?

Mr. Scrivener doesn’t want to commit future councils to a project the size of the proposed $5 million Mission Drive extension. I commend him for that. Therefore, I expect him not to be in favor of, support or vote in favor of a conference center or any tax subsidy to support one as that would be hypocritical.

Lastly, Ms. Carroll, recently in regards to a vote on funding JCTV, Mr. Graham recused himself from voting due to his employment at Lincoln University. Since you own property very near one of the proposed sites will you also demonstrate such professionalism and recuse yourself from any vote on these proposals or any tax subsidy? If not, why?

I want the City Council to know that I do not support this conference center/hotel idea. I expect clear, timely and responsible answers to my questions if they intend to change my mind.

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