County Council president making up facts to push political agenda

To the editor:

I found a lot to laugh about in Bill Bolander’s recent character attack on Mrs. Martha Vail (“Fairgrounds nonprofit board has county’s interest at heart,” April 19, A4). Mr. Bolander implies Mrs. Vail’s facts are not just wrong but represent untruths.

Imagine the biggest liar in the room accusing a class lady like Mrs. Vail of getting facts wrong and lying. Do I need to remind Mr. Bolander that he and Mr. Jim Shelby stood before the Tourism Commission on April 12 and misrepresented themselves as speaking on behalf of the county council? How about Bill and Jim insisting it was the expressed intention of the council in passing the one percent increase in the innkeepers’ tax that the proceeds go to the Hancock County Exposition Complex Corporation (HCECC)?

Mr. Bolander insists Mrs. Vail misstates facts when she says the Tourism Commission gave the HCECC $50,000, when the actual figure according to him was $40,000. Well, the actual figure for the so-called approved “grant” or whatever you want to call it was in fact $50,000. How much of the “grant” was spent was in the neighborhood of $42,000 according to the last figure that I heard put out by both the HCECC and the Tourism Commission.

Mr. Bolander claims the $40,000 was a “grant,” as if there is a big difference between “giving” the HCECC $40,000 and giving it a $40,000 grant. The truth remains. The HCECC received over $40,000 from the Tourism Commission and thousands more from the community foundation, Ninestar, 4-H/AG Association and over $4,000 from an anonymous benefactor.

Mr. Bolander writes about a “grant,” yet I and others have been unable to secure a copy of the required detailed grant request submitted by the HCECC or the county council’s required approval of the grant request.

Mr. Bolander also refers to a “detailed” plan completed by Triad. Again, I must sadly report that a complete copy of this “detailed plan” has yet to be presented to the Tourism Commission, the commissioners, the public, or myself (request for public records submitted.) I think the report Bill refers to is an altered and incomplete copy of Triad’s report, which has been circulated among a selected “few.” The complete copy of the Triad report has never been released for public consumption. I dare say it remains kept under lock and key for what I suspect are very good reasons. If the details were released, there would be no question as to whose integrity would be called into question.

Mr. Bolander wrote, “Mrs. Vail was concerned about the taxpayer money that had been spent. This money so far has come from the Tourism Bureau (Commission) through the innkeepers’ tax we collect from the motels in the county. I don’t assume she has contributed to that tax, but I could be wrong?”

The innkeepers’ tax revenue is taxpayer money regardless of from whom it comes. Also, tax revenues from the innkeepers’ tax must be used and accounted for in compliance with the governing statute, regardless of who paid it.

Last, Mr. Bolander would like to work together without bashing and making up facts to push one’s political agenda. Then, Bill, stop making up facts to push your own political agenda!

George R. Langston