Letter to the Editor from Bill Payne of Cape Charles.
I support the 1% sales tax initiative proposed by the Northampton County Board of Supervisors. Our young citizens deserve the best education the county can deliver, and this creative financing makes it affordable. The prospect that Northampton County visitors will pay 45% of the additional tax makes it a “no brainer”.
Apart from the personal cost savings, I think we have an obligation as private citizens to do our part to energize the county’s economy. We will never attract business and newcomers to our stagnant community if we do not demonstrate a desire to invest in educational excellence.
One may argue we should address other county challenges. The fact is tackling the reconstruction of our schools at this point in time makes the most sense. Opportunity is situational and the key factors have aligned – the high school is crumbling, interest rates are historically low, and the county’s debt ratios are sound.
Just as important as the fiscal considerations is the pressing need to address our failure to provide a socially and emotionally safe environment for our middle-schoolers. It is simply a matter of near-criminal naiveté to comingle students just leaving grade school with young adults and expect positive outcomes.
I am hopeful other likeminded friends and neighbors will give the 1% sales tax referendum thoughtful consideration and vote “Yes for Northampton Schools” on or before November 3rd.