The journey to the Earl Scruggs Center – Series Pts 1 and 2

City Budget Cuts Eliminates 3 Fire Department Employees, But Hires DCC Director and Purchases $40,000 City Center Master Plan

Shelby City Council said “No” to a tax rate hike, and layoffs loomed in the city budget process. City employees’ jobs were threatened.

At the City Council meeting on June 19, 2006, seventeen citizens spoke, including Assistant District Attorney Rick Shaffer, opposing cuts in the Police and Fire Departments, urging City Council to consider other options. The proposed budget passed 5-1 and indeed city jobs were cut, including three positions in the Fire Department, dismissing one employee six months short of her retirement, and leaving one fire station short a person.

Yet at that same meeting the City Council made a donation of $25,000 to Destination Cleveland County, in anticipation of receiving a Rural Center Grant for their work to make Shelby a tourist destination. The City of Shelby had already appropriated $30,000 of travel and tourism money for this project in the General Fund, and that night they approved hiring Marta Holden, Executive Director of Destination Cleveland County to work part-time for the City. They approved $30,000 for salary, plus $2,300 for Social Security, and $17,700 for other expenses.

Also at that same City Council meeting, the Council voted to spend $40,000 with Arnett Muldrow and Associates in Greenville, South Carolina to prepare a Center City Master Plan for the City of Shelby.

To further support Destination Cleveland County’s claim on Jim Allen’s plans for the Southern Music Heritage Museum, and to promote DCC as an economic development tool, the Shelby Center City Master Plan was built around DCC’s potential projects, calling them catalysts for the economy.

An article in The Star August 28, 2006 tells of a newly formed Steering Committee whose task is to develop the Center City Master Plan. The article quotes Destination Cleveland County Chairwoman Brownie Plaster and Director of Uptown Shelby Association Chandler Poole as members of this Steering Committee working to create the Center City Master Plan. The Master Plan is a rubber stamp for DCC’s projects.

DCC’s further seal of approval came on August 1, 2006 when the County Commissioners passed a RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT DESTINATION CLEVELAND COUNTY. The County Commissioners also gave this group access to the artifacts belonging to the Cleveland County Historical Museum.

Jim Allen was sick and disillusioned and the loyal members of his group were disillusioned too. One of them said that it had become political and they felt like the Rebels against the Union. The renegade members of their group who took the dream, changed it to what they wanted it to be and ran with it, were the powers of the local government.