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Facts hard to find on pipeline issue

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School board’s anti-tax rhetoric becoming laughable

By BEN CARLSON

Column as I see ’em …
In retrospect, it’s not at all difficult to see why a representative of the company proposing the Bluegrass Pipeline opted out of attending last Tuesday’s special called meeting of the Anderson County Fiscal Court.
One person at that meeting, for one brief moment, spoke out of lockstep with the crowd and was immediately and thoroughly drowned out in opposition — even after he said he isn’t in favor of the pipeline.
Had someone with the company proposing the pipeline actually been there, those attending to actually hear information that would help them decide whether they should allow the pipeline on their property would have instead heard nothing more than heated exchanges and half answers from people repeatedly being cutoff midsentence.
Sorry to put it that way, folks, but that’s exactly how it would have gone down.
My goal since the topic arose earlier this year is to have this newspaper be in position to fairly and accurately report both sides of this issue. That’s a newspaper’s job.
In my reporting this week, I hope that even the most ardent supporters or detractors will read something they may not have read before, or at least get more information from both sides that has not yet been presented.
For instance, I’ve heard time and again that nothing about this project will benefit Kentucky in any way, shape or form, including the creation of jobs.
So, I did what a journalist should do and asked that question, along with a host of others designed to capture the overriding concerns expressed last Tuesday night.
The company painted a remarkably different picture, including that there will be upwards of 6,000 temporary jobs created in Kentucky, along with about 30 permanent jobs.
I was also told that a company in Kentucky already uses the products the pipeline would carry, a statement I hadn’t heard elsewhere, along with the firm admission that the company not only thinks it already has the power of eminent domain, if needed, it fully intends to use it.
Is any of that true? I don’t know, but it does put this company on the record, in print, and gives folks trying to make up their minds a little more grist for their mills.

Speaking of heard …
I received some positive feedback about a note in last week’s column regarding the unfortunate impact selecting the new interim high school principal had on the girls’ softball team.
Of course that feedback was said to my face, or at least delivered by phone or signed e-mail.
The negative feedback came during what I’m told was a meeting of those upset about the coaching situation. Of course those who badmouthed my column — which apparently was completely out of line because I came out in favor of academics over athletics — did so while hiding behind a closed door.
That’s about what I’d expect, particularly from the one who squealed the loudest and claimed I don’t know how to do my job.
But I was surprised that criticism about not “knowing who signs my paychecks,” or a variation thereof, came from another person for whom I used to have a fair amount of respect, and still would had that person shared that thought with me instead of behind my back.
The walls sure have ears — and mouths — don’t they?

Speaking of schools …
It was interesting to read News Editor Meaghan Downs’ report on a school board committee meeting during which members moaned and groaned about the eventuality of increasing property tax rates or cutting spending.
The truth is that despite keeping property tax rates flat in each of the past four years, the district nevertheless has received more, and spent more, of the money it receives from property taxes every single year.
It’s becoming laughable to hear all of the anti-tax increase rhetoric coming from the same group of people who practically gave away the old ECC building for less than half of its appraised value, has tapped out its bonding ability after spending tens of millions on new buildings in the past few years and now is so broke it can’t afford to replace the high school’s HVAC system without borrowing the money.