Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 7, 2013

Don't fall prey to a gimmick

The Register-News

---- — 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.”

I understand many have no faith our county board will listen to us. To avoid another gimmick expense that will be passed along to our children, it is well worth some of our time of attempting to understand this courthouse issue and speaking our minds on what should be done.

I strongly encourage everyone who has interest in being part of the process to attend the public hearing set for 3 p.m. next Monday, Aug. 12, at the Lewis Building at Veterans Park. The meeting is supposed to last until 7 p.m., so attend after work, if your schedule allows.

While it may be a gimmick and/or trick, at least in theory we are supposed to be able to ask questions and voice our concerns. Many of us will regret is should we choose not to at least try.

Dan Voyles

Mt. Vernon