Recently, a friend and I attempted to attend a meeting at the Georgia Mountains Center in an effort to be better informed about the county's budget woes. We arrived about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time and, to our surprise and disappointment, we were refused entrance to the meeting along with several hundred other taxpayers. I mention this to let the reader know I am ill-informed due to no fault of my own. However, please bear with an ill informed taxpayer's perspective.
It seems to me some of the commissioners are taking positions and some are riding the fence (which is a terrible way to get your britches torn.) I get the impression from reading The Times that the predominant position is to raise taxes. Even the "conservatives" are clamoring for a tax increase. To do otherwise would be devastating. The sky is falling!
My position is probably a little different than the herd. I cannot be comfortable giving another $8 million to a group of folks who have done such a great job of "managing" our money by buying big buildings we can't afford and don't need; building SPLOST monuments that have to be staffed and maintained; sewer lines which will be dubious moneymakers in the near or distant future; buying land that we don't need (40 acres in Clermont); hiring big city, high-priced lawyers; and grandiose recreation facilities we can't staff or maintain (Nopone Road park), etc.
As has been pointed out previously, this situation should not have come as a great surprise. The trail leading to disaster was marked well. It seems the problems we are now dealing with were anticipated.
Government is too big, starting at the federal level on down to Main Street. Look around and you will notice that the largest and most ornate buildings in our county belong to government. I read comments that say the tax increase will only be a "few pennies a day," which may be true. However ,when this bump is not enough to keep the ship of state afloat, what do you do then? Raise taxes? Small leaks will eventually sink the largest ship.
Remember, the folks who got us where we are now will still have the checkbook. What creditable assurance do we have that it won't be business as usual? If this tax proposal becomes reality, I will view it as giving a bonus to failure.
Has any thought been given to privatizing libraries, parks or other government facilities? By doing this the folks who play will be the ones who pay. It would probably be only pennies a day.