Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

August 7, 2013

Don't fall prey to a gimmick

Editor:

“You have won a prize!” Many of us have received in the mail a letter or postcard with that inviting statement. The “announcement” usually goes on to list desirable items reserved for us to collect by visiting a location or calling a phone number.

Most of us recognize those letters and postcards as being just short of a scam. Along with the handful of major prizes is fine print noting less valuable prizes, such as a single dollar or a timeshare gimmick.

Usually we identify those postcards and letters as what they are because we had at one time fallen for the gimmick. We, as Jefferson County residents, have fallen for such a gimmick in the past and must band together to avoid a repeat duping. A letter to the editor written by Jefferson County Board Chairman Robert White recently announced a public hearing will be held to discuss options concerning renovations and repairs to the courthouse.

It has been noted that the company seeking to manage the nearly $8 million courthouse project will be present to explain our options. Really? A company interested in collecting millions of taxpayer dollars from Jefferson County is going to “educate” us? This is shaping up to rival the gimmick letters and postcards mentioned earlier in this letter. This seems similar to the “Vote Yes” committee telling us that taxes would start later than they have for a new high school. They were formed to “educate” us as well.

Although I have yet to obtain clarity on the public hearing, I have heard there will be a pair of two-hour hearings that will feature speeches from White and the company, M360 of St. Louis.

How much time will that leave for those with serious and very important questions? My guess is not much, and that is most likely not a coincidence. We have been through our local leaders playing with shells to get more of our money for their projects. If we do not stand up to this action by the county board — by at the very least demanding to be heard during the public hearing — we will again be tricked into a tax “timeshare.”

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