Council decisions questionable

By Bonnie J. Neal | Published Saturday, June 23, 2012

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How is it a small, rural municipality can be taken over by a few citizens and operated solely for their own benefit?

Promising that allowing the sale of liquor would benefit the community cash flow and augment the cost of the police department was a major selling point to the voters. As soon as the voters said “yes,” the police department was eliminated, as just not needed.

A ball park, where for years many, many folks played with their families, was labeled as a waste of land. They sold it and put a park on the front lawn of the library.

There was no need for a Parks and Recreation Board so it was removed as “costing the city too much money.” Volunteers had spent two different weekends cleaning up an old building and making plans to do some other repairs – at no cost to the city. Got rid of the Parks and Rec anyway.

They stripped the playground from the Delora Doughty Royal Park because it was unsafe and convinced the citizens that they needed to donate more money for playground equipment instead of using already specified funds to repair what was already there.

Oh yes, by the way, they also stole the playground from the ball park that was paid for and installed by a Gold Girl Scout as a community project and moved it to the library lawn, passing by the Royal Park on the way.

Another really big splash was to repair and widen Rogers Road on the back side of Newark – very important to spend as much money as possible to fix a street that has no more traffic than any other street in Newark and take people’s yards in the process. Why?

Now City Hall is too small and in such bad shape that the library had to be reduced and put in an old building that required a lot of money to fix it up so City Hall could be moved to where the library was. Now it’s time to sell the old City Hall building – got to pay for all that “progress.”

Oh, well. Apparently there is a lot of money being made from all the beer sales, and this is making Newark prosperous.

In all that surging forward, there is the changing of different city attorneys – not sure if they are not getting paid for all the litigation or quitting the city because of lack of ethics. There has been a great deal of tax money spent trying to take a citizen’s land at the end of Killough Street. It never has been clear as to why so much money was spent so freely for something that ends at the railroad track.

They made her do without water for almost a year, trying to get her gone. It did not happen, and we, the taxpayers, just keep paying for their actions.

Is this our future in Newark? Sell, spend and brag about how prosperous the town is getting? There are still a lot of empty business buildings. Is that prospering?

Bonnie J. Neal

3 Responses to “Council decisions questionable”

  1. Mary Wells says:

    Ms. Neal, your rant is filled with many mistakes so I will correct them for you and anyone else that reads and believes what you say. First, our city was never “taken over by a few citizens”. The truth is that each of our council members was VOTED INTO OFFICE by the citizens of Newark whether you like it or not. Second, you say our council operates solely for their own benefit which makes me laugh because it is our fine council members that do most of the volunteer work in our city while you sit on the sidelines and complain. Allowing the sale of beer and wine within city limits was also VOTED ON BY THE CITIZENS OF NEWARK. Since then the city and several local businesses have received great benefit from these sales. At no time did the elimination of the police department have any link whatsoever to liquor sales. The police department was eliminated because it provided less than 20 hours of police protection a month which gave our city a false sense of security while operating with a budget of over $100,000 per year. Newark (a town of 1000) simply could not afford its own police department anymore and now receives 24 / 7 coverage from the Wise County Sheriff’s Department at no cost to the taxpayers. The ball park has not been used for years and, once again, IT IS THE CITIZENS OF NEWARK THAT VOTED TO SELL IT. To date, the park has not been sold as you say. The land in front of the library was designated as a park many years ago and never had anything to do with the decision to sell the ball park. The Parks and Recreation Board was eliminated solely because it was ineffective. The board operated at no cost to the city – it simply was not doing its job. There were never any funds allocated to repairing park equipment. If there were, then why were repairs not done when you were a member of the board? The city now has the “Heart for Park” program that was initiated by Mayor Pro Tem Laura Pixler with $500 of her own money. The fund has now grown to over $1000 by citizen contributions and will be used to buy new, safe equipment once enough funds are raised. The playground equipment that you refer to as “stolen” was ordered to be moved from the Ball Park to the Library Park by former Mayor Bill Malone because it was being vandalized. It was moved and repaired by the same council members you claim operates solely for their own benefit. The repair and widening of Rogers Road, which has been designated as one of the worst roads in town, is being renovated at a very lost cost because the county has been secured to do most of the work. The only residents that were affected by the widening were those that had mailboxes or fences that were placed beyond their property lines into the utility easement. The city is working with these citizens to help them move any encroachments back within their property lines and the feedback received from these folks at a former council meeting was very positive. I have no argument with you about the old City Hall building being too small and in very bad shape. However, the library was relocated to a smaller building in order to better utilize space which then allowed the movement of City Hall to a bigger, better building and the addition of a community center that everyone in Newark can now enjoy. Once again, it was the volunteer work of council members and citizens that got the job done. Yes, the old City Hall building will be sold and the money will be used to move our city forward. I guess you don’t like progress. The council voted to switch attorneys two times in the past few years to receive better service. Neither of the former attorneys quit and both were paid for their services. Yes, there has been a great deal of money spent on attorney fees to remove illegal, unpermitted fences that were placed across Killough Street by a homeowner on property that has clearly been shown on a survey they do not own. It is unfortunate that this citizen refused to remove the illegal structures even after being ordered to do so several times by the county court and the city was forced to remove them for her. It was a waste of taxpayer money caused purely by the refusal of the citizen to adhere to the law. And lastly your statement saying that the council made this person do without water for almost a year is truly beyond belief. The resident’s water was turned off because they did not pay their water bills. When you don’t pay your bills, eventually you get shut off. It’s as simple as that. Ms. Neal, you have your opinions and I have mine but it would be very nice if you would do a little more research and get your facts straight before you write accusing letters like this again.

  2. Government will only do what the majority of the citizens allow it to do.


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