I was horrified to read in this morning’s N&R that the new city council has voted to go ahead with the overpriced, unnecessary, unwanted “natatorium” that the citizens have twice voted down. On a 5-4 vote, they decided to use $7 million in anticipated hotel tax revenue to supplement the $12 million the voters already “approved” in bond money.* Of her vote, Nancy Vaughan said, “I really like the idea of having this as a user fee. It is kind of the ultimate user fee.” Sorry, Nancy. You’re completely wrong there. A user fee is something that is paid for by a person who uses whatever is being paid for. A hotel tax cannot be described in any legitimate way as a user fee for anything other than the hotel. But I guess it makes her feel better about defying the will of the voters. Wasn’t she one of the ones who ran on a campaign of making the city council more transparent and accountable to the voters? Sigh. Well, it is certainly the case that the taxes of Greensboro are going to continue going up and up and up. NC used to be a low tax state, but no longer. Don’t think the state can keep attracting (and retaining) transplants if we continue on this path.
*Please recall that the wording of the bond made it appear that swimming pools would be built under the aegis of the parks & rec department, not a fancy destination swim center under the coliseum.