Council Vehicle Allowance

By / Letters to the Editor / Tuesday, 17 February 2015 05:00

Editor, Residents,
This letter is being written to inform voters and citizens in Carolina Beach that believe your Mayor and Council as elected officials are putting your interest ahead of their own please read the following: Your Elected Council forces you through our budget every month to pay a $250.00 per month per person undocumented car allowance to handle Town business. Why is this undocumented? I believe they know better than we do that they will not receive as much money as the present if they document mileage or this feeding at the public's trough would have been changed years ago by previous Councils. This my friends ain’t chump change but serious money monthly for 5 elected officials. Good sense would say there are a lot of taxpayers at C.B. whose car payment does not equal that much.
Does anyone paying taxes at C.B. believe any part time elected official drives enough on Town business to justify this much car allowance in a Town only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide? 4 of 5 on this Council own and operate full time businesses and should not have time to ride that much in any business much less part time Town business. As the ones paying the bills we need to see  undocumented nonsense stopped. This car allowance is supposed to cover local travel and there is a separate per mile driven for out of Town travel for each of these folks. Car allowance mileage should all be documented and given only on a per mile driven basis concerning Town business. I have heard your Mayor express documentation for miles traveled would be a pain in the behind. Documentation would only be required if they want to be paid. They document, we pay per mile driven, they don’t document we don’t pay, simple as that. Money saved and feeding at the public's trough on this issue alone would stop. Your Council has no trouble documenting and filing for payment on mileage reports from here to Raleigh on boondoggles. You and I are not consulted as to what travel allowance or any benefit your Mayor and Council receives. They simply vote themselves what a  majority of themselves agrees on. By state law they are allowed to set their own compensation unreasonable or not. We had some real geniuses in Raleigh that adopted a law to allow elected officials including (themselves) to set their own compensation. Also if Town employees travel their per diem is not the same as Council as it is a set figure for lodging and meals, not so with Council they stay where they want, eat what they want and we are forced to pay the bill regardless. The checks and balances are if you are displeased you vote for someone else thus putting them out of office.
Mr. Mayor and Council your undocumented car allowance and us paying anything for your insurance must stop or none of you need seek reelection. Your Mayor and two members of Council in November 2015 are in danger of being defeated at the polls as sure as I breathe. The issue will be their self given benefits and putting themselves before taxpayers.
As information there is no state law that says that elected officials have to give themselves any compensation as their service is viewed as public service except at C.B. where it is viewed as self service.
This past June at our budget hearings a majority of your Council (3) voted to give themselves 80% of the cost of premiums for Health and Dental Insurance despite your Mayor informing me before his election he would vote if elected to eliminate Councils insurance. Does making a motion for a compromise look like any attempt to eliminate this insurance? I think not. Mayor Wilcox also emailed me and said there were two others on Council that would like to eliminate this insurance but understand the compromise. It was a vote of 3-2 to allow cash in the same amount in lieu of Insurance.
The two of five that voted against this compromise wanted to keep 100% of insurance premiums thus voting no on this proposal.  No full time Town employee in C.B. has a benefit like this Council that allows cash in lieu of insurance. Ask yourselves why part time elected officials in C.B. would force taxpayers to pay for a better benefit for themselves than they will allow any other employee? Your Mayor told me in an email before our past election that should he be elected he would vote to eliminate this insurance. This had not happened in the many months your Mayor has been in office. Should we re-elect anyone that has not done what they said they would do about any issue after half their term in office? I think not. Voters can stop this mess of greed and not doing what you say you will do by not re-electing any incumbent to this Council and pick and elect those who will serve us willingly as true public servants instead of those who have shown us they are and have been willing participants of greed and feeding at the public’s trough.
If you want change the faces on Council must change. I will not vote for any incumbent on this Council and I think I have made it plain in this and past public presentations to Council and letters to the Editor as to why. “Thinking voters will no longer elect or re-elect anyone to this Council that are or willing to force taxpayers to pay for unreal high dollar benefits for themselves to perform a part time public service job”.
D.A. Lewis,
Carolina Beach, NC


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