05Jessie BellflowersEditor,

I am asking your readers to tolerate my response to Hope Mils Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers’ Letter to the Editor in the April 17-23 edition of Up & Coming Weekly concerning the proposed construction of the Hope Mills Lake bulkhead (retaining wall). Full disclosure: I am married to Mayor Jackie Warner and I am her biggest cheerleader. She will not be pleased with my thoughts and opinions that follow.

Hope Mills Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers or any “stiff necked” politician can rationalize away the reason they sometimes make stupid or illogical decisions in an attempt to regain the confidence and trust of constituents. Unfortunately, for Commissioner Bellflowers it’s “too little, too late” on this bulkhead issue.

Our Hope Mills summer is all but ruined. Not because of the need for a safe and sturdy bulkhead but because of the irresponsibility and mismanagement of the project by you (Bellflowers) and fellow Hope Mills commissioners. As a result of their inept leadership, disappointed Hope Mills residents had to forego Easter sunrise services at the lake, and they will forego all the traditional family fun-filled events and activities surrounding Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. Yes, their (the commissioners’) poor decisions have inconvenienced residents and put Hope Mills taxpayers in peril.

Make no mistake about it, the real issues are not about the construction of the bulkhead, Jessie, so don’t patronize us. Instead, why not address the questions and real concerns we have like: Why is the bulkhead costing Hope Mills taxpayers $500,000 as determined by a single bid? Why was this major construction project request for proposal not sent out for a rebid? Why was this initial proposal hastily approved with very little discussion or empathy for the burden (of the) taxpayers who will be responsible for paying for it? Was this expensive bulkhead in the town’s budget? Who made the recommendation to cover the expense out of the town’s emergency reserve fund and what is the plan to replenish these funds?

There are so many questions and no sufficient answers. Many of us fear a tax increase is in our future. Yet, very little discussion or due diligence has been done by our elected. So, again, don’t patronize us, Jessie.

These kind of haphazard, irresponsible decisions, proposals and knee-jerk reactions by you and the commissioners are not sound business practices or decisions. And, they are unacceptable.

In closing, I want to remind the voters of Hope Mills that, all too often, elected officials become experts at spending other people’s money — like us — the taxpayers. And, I’m not even a C.P.A.

Alex Warner

Hope Mills, NC

Photo: Hope Mills Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers

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