In attending the North Hall budget meeting in Clermont, I came away with some good points that were made in the meeting and some views that were made in a state of emotion.
Why do so many politicians resort to sob stories and scare tactics when they are forced to get the government's financial house in order? Tom Oliver's antics are no different from the big government apologists in Congress; he simply raises the specter of slower emergency response and shuttered libraries instead of threatening Medicare cuts and the loss of cowboy poetry festivals.
As a Hall County resident and employee, I have tried to educate myself on the pending budget crisis as best as possible, but I can only speak from personal experience. I have to wonder how much longer residents and county officials can expect the budget to be balanced solely off the backs of the employees.
Why is it every time the budget needs to be cut, we look to public safety, parks and usually education? Surely there are other areas where efficiency can be instilled?
T. Boone Pickens says that "water is the new oil" and he should know, as he has put his money into major water infrastructure investments. Why is the Hall County Reservoirs issue important for everyone to understand? The reason is how much this will cost in property taxes.
In response to a recent headline, it is about time that we start taking some drastic steps to a drastic problem. Cutting these services is a great start. However, I would like to make two points.
I am compelled to write to you in support of the three letters published Saturday. Brandi Barnes, Neil Boykin, and Jean Hudson all seem to have the same idea in mind.
I was concerned by the article on the front page of The Times today that delineates potential cuts in county services if no additional revenue can be identified.
I've noticed that, when times are good, lawmakers recommend a tax break. When times are bad, lawmakers recommened a tax break.
I just read the June 2 article in The Times about the pending study to increase water inflow needed in Florida to save their endangered mussels once again.
Hall County's spending crisis did not blindside us; clear warnings have been issued time and again. Anyone even casually glancing at The Times foreclosures sections since the financial collapse knew trouble was coming.
Why is the Chicopee Agricultural Center going to be closed? Ninety-five percent of the shows bring in visitors to the county from out of the state and county and thus sales taxes. The Allen Creek Soccer complex only serves the local community and does not bring in revenue from outside of the county.
I agree with some of the proposed cuts like parks and community centers but am concerned with the property tax increase. We have so many families struggling to hold on to their homes with lost jobs and reduced incomes that an increase in taxes could be the end of them.
As a voting citizen of Hall County since I was 18, I am deeply concerned by the proposed budget cuts in the county. Cutting two ambulances, laying off 77 employees and cutting another 25 positions is totally out of line and absurd. The county is so large that we need the ambulance and firefighter coverage badly. Cut something that is not so crucial.
Frank Norton, sir, do you really see the Hall County jail as a Ritz Carlton? The Hall County Sheriff's Office as a kingdom?
This time of year we begin hearing about the "War on Christmas," as the nonreligious seek to enforce the constitutional separation between church and state. Others talk about a "War on Thanksgiving" as early shopping begins to infringe on family time and Thanksgiving time. But there's another war far more displeasing to God, at least according to Jesus.
Many thanks should be extended to all the local restaurants who provided free dinners to veterans on Veterans Day. Such a positive, supportive attitude only serves to strengthen the community and the country. A week later, I was impressed to see a restaurant in Buford extend the honor by providing literally hundreds of free dinners to local veterans.
This is in response to Joan King's recent attempt to display her superior wisdom. I thought her forte was climate change, but now she's scolding us all for not embracing President Barack Obama's nightmare health care plan. Where's she been this past year?
Reply to Clarence Lusane column of Nov. 11: He is correct when he says the election was not a mandate for a Republican agenda. I disagree that it happened because of a "pervasive anti-Obama drumbeat" or "incessant Republican pounding." It happened because the American people are mad.
According to President Barack Obama, the citizens of the United States are not exceptional. Also, he claims we are no better than any other country on this planet.
I have a 16-acre sheep farm on Coker Road. One recent evening, a 16-year-old boy hit my fence driving 80 mph, as he told police. He and his friend, who was also 16, were going home from East Hall High School.
On Nov. 10, three men, one of them a Hall County Sheriff's deputy, were injured in a crash at Spout Springs Road and Union Circle. Thankfully none of the men suffered anything worse than a minor injury. But anyone driving in this area with any regularity knows how dangerous this intersection can be. The fact that there are not more accidents at this intersection is astounding.
In her recent letter, Mary Young seems to refer to the 9-11 attacks during the Bush administration as if they constitute a justification for the war in Iraq. Neither Saddam nor Iraq was involved in those attacks. She also attempts to justify the war by pointing to past history, including Saddam's use of gas against Iraqi Kurds. The U.S. sold Saddam that gas. I have to wonder, who does she think the U.S. intended the gas to be used on? As suppliers of WMD, we are complicit in that crime.
President Barack Obama left his domestic woes behind to take a foreign policy trip to China this week. He met with the leader of China in a private meeting to talk about Chinese-U.S. relations and trade policies. The American press was allowed total access to the meeting and to take photographs of the occasion. It was interesting to see pictures of the world's most powerful dictator standing next to some Chinese guy.
Family is the most important organization in time (on this earth) or in eternity. God Himself organized the first family on earth. He created all of us as His spiritual children and thus His spiritual family. Family is very important to Him. "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
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