Recently, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved a $7 million incentive package for High Point for that city’s downtown development – with no specific project in mind.
One of two votes against that move came from Republican Guilford County Commissioner Alan Perdue, who’s had one big question: “How much is this going to cost the county?”
Perdue has said in meetings that he’s not sure of the answer to that question but he does know one thing: It will cost a heck of a lot more than $7 million. Because, Perdue argued in a commissioners work session and again in a televised meeting, this incentive opens the door wide open for every town and city in Guilford County to come to the Board of Commissioners for help funding their city and town projects.
Perdue said if the county gives $7 million to High Point for its project, why wouldn’t every municipality in the county come ask for money. He said each of the municipalities all had challenges they needed help with.
Perdue was persistent in wanting to know: What could the county say when every town and city came asking for money?
Indeed, right after the Board of Commissioners approved the unusual – even historic – handout to High Point, posters on Facebook were asking that same question.
One even did the math. If there are about 112,000 High Point residents, the poster reasoned, that comes to $62.50 per person, which would mean that Greensboro should get $18 million and change, and Summerfield should get $700,000 in county help, and so on and so on.
In fact, forget about towns and cities – even individual homeowners on Facebook were asking this week why shouldn’t they get help from the county whenever they increase the tax base with an addition to their home.
What Perdue called a “Pandora’s Box” may have now been opened. On Friday, Feb. 26, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting with the mayors and managers or administrators for all the cities and towns to give input on the county’s 2021-2022 fiscal budget. That’s a brand new step of the commissioners’ budget process – one that can very likely be attributed to the feedback after the recent vote to give High Point $7 million.