The Halifax County Board of Commissioners are getting out-voted and out-muscled on their two rejections of a resolution supporting a casino in the Carolina Crossroads Entertainment District.
And more resolutions of support are forthcoming, meaning it may be time for the county board to reconsider their two rejections on a proposal that is still alive.
On Tuesday, arguably the most powerful board in the Roanoke Valley — the Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District Board — voted in favor of the resolution because that panel hopes to see the groundwork it began years ago when this idea was in its infancy stages come to fruition.
We would argue that RRSD support of this resolution carries just as much, if not more, weight than the county’s two-time rejection of the resolution in the eyes of state lawmakers because this small three-member board guides the growth of infrastructure and development within Roanoke Rapids with its water and sewer services.
Yes, while the RRSD board wants to see its revenue stream reach flood stage, the panel is also savvy enough to understand there is a correlation between increased revenues and economic growth.
Then there is the vote of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission, which also helps to guide the economy — not just in Roanoke Rapids but the county as a whole.
One of the lesser known boards in the county is Halifax County Business Horizons, a private non-profit organization that provides funding for economic development projects in all of Halifax County.
Over the past five years, it has raised more than $800,000 to support business and industry recruitment and expansion as well as tourism development.
And while the casino bill as it was written doesn’t require incentive money, Horizons it is yet another body which works quietly behind the scenes and lawmakers should take their vote on the resolution seriously.
Probably the most visible board is that of the Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau whose CEO told us for a story Thursday the casino proposal could likely double the number of hotel rooms in the county.
And there are others jumping in on the city’s side in this proposal which will be reported when all the resolutions have passed in several towns of Halifax County.
Weldon has already done so — as has the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, a fact we only learned late Thursday and will be included when all the municipal tallies are in.
Through the rest of this month we are running a poll and as of this writing the tally stands 588 in favor, 215 against and 30 undecided.
While we won’t include our poll in the feed trough for lawmakers to dig into, we wouldn’t discount it either.
These resolutions, however, will not only be presented to the commissioners, but more importantly, state officials as we try to jockey for a casino in a place that is primed and ready to grow — Carolina Crossroads.
The three commissioners who twice rejected the resolution need to study the resolutions of those panels which have supported the effort thus far and those that are yet to come.
Their support speaks volumes and when Commissioner Carolyn Johnson said she didn’t think the county was ready for such an endeavor — our answer is when will we ever be ready if not now?
The land has the infrastructure. There is plenty of developable land out there and we certainly meet the criteria the way the Rural Tourism Bill was written.
We are certain Commissioner John Smith won’t be swayed if the board should revisit this but our answer to him would be an old one going back to the days of Prohibition — morals and what people do with their money just can’t be legislated.
As in the days before the state lottery, people flocked to Virginia as they are doing now with the casinos across the border. Even the most draconian measures won’t keep people from gambling — be it high-stakes poker games in private homes, friends shooting craps, or people going to internet and sweepstakes cafes.
While it’s sad there are people who aren’t responsible with their money, no law or individual lawmaker is going to be able to control their reckless and wanton spending until the gambling addict, like other addicts, admit they have a problem and decide to take control of their lives.
As far as Commissioner Sammy Webb’s idea for a referendum — it’s not needed.
The proof is in the resolutions which have been passed and those which will be passed.
The city has the land zoned, the interest is there and people are hard at work behind the scenes making this become a reality.
Frankly, while it would have been nice to have an endorsement from the county’s governing panel, it was essentially superfluous to the cause since the city has the final say and control in matters concerning Carolina Crossroads.
And with the support of some crucial boards in the Roanoke Valley and more to come, the Halifax County Board of Commissioners are not only being out-voted but out-muscled — Editor