We Realtors basically received a reprimand for asking Hilton Head Island Town Council to budget better and not raise our taxes.
Many of us didn't bother going back for the second reading of the tax increase. An accountant wrote: "Remember, the town is so rich they can donate a million dollars worth of land to a charity."
Our town is mired in short sales and foreclosures. Many folks have gone into bankruptcy while Town Council seems to dream up things to spend money on.
We don't need multimillion-dollar fire training facilities and parks like the Compass Rose Park (and its ongoing maintenance). If it had been kept green as earlier councils intended, we'd have lots more money. Spending $350,000 on new street signs is sinful. How many staffers have been laid off since 2006?
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We commend Councilman Bill Ferguson, who voted against the increase, and newly elected Councilman Lee Edwards, who asked why only 4 percent was going to "our investment for the future," while operating costs ("merit" raises for staff) will be 67 percent of the new money to be collected. That is ludicrous. The council does need to learn to budget.
The staff is lucky to have jobs, no matter how good they are, and merit raises are just not given out when many others are losing their jobs. We honestly had every right to tell you what we thought -- as taxpayers and members of this community.
Hilton Head Island