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Stop the Tax & Spend

Editor, News-Register:

I’m sure you’ve heard and understand the saying “chickens coming home to roost.” What about “when it rains it pours?” Or “can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel?” Well, I’m here to tell you that all of the above, and more, are applicable to the state of affairs in Wheeling.

Let’s see, we have approximately $190 million in long-term debt, inadequate storm drainage systems, crumbling sidewalks and curbs, poor streets, a growing city bureaucracy (over 400 city employees), over 600 vacant buildings, declining population (less than 27,000), closure of OVMC and loss of hundreds of jobs, threatened closure of Wheeling University, and yet our mayor and city council want to enter into a proposal with the state and federal governments for a “streetscape program” that will solely benefit the downtown business district. Cost to the local taxpayer is $5 million. They want to build a new “public safety building” at a cost of $8 million to $12 million, construct a new mid-town parking garage for an out-of-state private developer at a total cost to the taxpayer of anywhere from $12 million to $16 million, depending on where it is sited, and how large you make it. This mayor and city council don’t recognize, or don’t care that the city is drowning in debt.

They must not have seen that the president attempted to do away with the Community Development Block Grant program in 2018. Wheeling has received approximately $45 million since 1988. They must not have heard the owners of Wheeling Downs saying they want to relocate their casino, or a portion thereof, to the Highlands. Which, if that occurs, will reduce the revenue stream into city coffers generated by the Wheeling Island facility.

They must not be cognizant of the monumental traffic jams that Wheeling is experiencing due to road projects (possibly lasting up to three years). Obviously the motoring public will be avoiding traveling to and through, Wheeling if at all possible. What affect that will have on downtown, and area, businesses is yet to be seen, but it is safe to say that a reduction in B&O taxes can be anticipated. Don’t bury your heads in the sand, help our misguided leaders to see the light, tell them to stop their tax-and-spend approach to government.

P. Jacobs

Wheeling

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