With all the talk of budget talks vs. increasing tax rates, being a 64-year-old independent truck driver, I have some comments and questions.
The damage that the Hall County Board of Commissioners is about to do to this county will not only hurt the quality of life in this county, but will cause irreparable damage to our local economy. How in the world could anyone with a rational brain possibly think that eliminating 77 county jobs or so, eliminating public parks and libraries and cutting two ambulances will help local business?
In dire economic times like now, something has to give in order bring budgets more in line with reality. As regards to the proposed closing of four library locations out of six in total, I would like to make the following remarks and suggestions.
Yes, Chairman Tom Oliver has proposed raising the millage rate to make up for revenue losses due to property values dropping drastically in the last few years. The county commission and school board probably read all of the evaluations during the housing bubble as they cut that same millage rate year after year.
Let me start off by saying that I would like to think the tax increase would not pass, but unfortunately, it's already too late. It's already passed.
I agree with Mr. Black's letter about the Chicopee Woods Ag Center. We were just there for JAKE's Day. It was wall to wall kids. All those families left there, bought gas and food elsewhere in the community.
Hall County officials are correct to propose deep cuts to fiscal year 2012 budgets and no tax increase should be considered. Hall County is no longer a boom town and the local government and its employees need to recognize this. The days of elite public sector employees riding piggyback on the peon taxpayers and insulated from the contractions in the economy are over.
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.
While I don't usually read Ronda Rich's columns, I did on Oct. 7. The heading got my attention and I read on. She wrote about the TV series "Justified" and how good it is. While I agree that it's a great show and high on my favorites list, I am puzzled by some things she wrote about the Appalachian South. Not being familiar with her writings, I hope it was done tongue-in-cheek when she wrote, "But here's what 'Justified' does best: It gets the Appalachian South right without reducing us to mockery or ridicule."
To Hall County Board of Education: I am sure that you have been made aware by now of the recent announcement by Dr. William Thompson, formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and co-author of the study on immunizations and their link to autism. If you have not, what has come to light is that Dr. Thompson has publicly declared that the study and its findings were falsified. He has declared that the data was altered to make it appear as if there was no link.