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Community Forum: Concerns over SPLOST plan need a response
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By: Jonathan Zopf

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After more than 20 years as a public servant, I have found the story of other elected officials to be very interesting. Basically, there are two types of elected officials. The first type is outspoken and holds nothing back. The second type has very little to say publicly and is most annoying to taxpayers.

We have both types in Hall County. These elected officials are manipulative and must be monitored.
Recent concerns voiced in the local news should not be taken lightly regarding the March 17th vote on SPLOST VI. Hall County taxpayers have already agreed to bonding the costs for a new Georgia State Patrol station. Also, under SPLOST VI, a new U.S. post office is proposed at Hall County taxpayer expense.

Even the town of Braselton and city of Buford have stopped by to get a bag of Hall County money. This proposed SPLOST program appears to be one of the best examples of public officials' arrogance that I have witnessed as a former elected official.

I would respectfully request that the Hall County commissioners delay the March 17 vote until the following issues are given fair and open consideration:

1. The local newspaper should publish a list of potential meetings to review the priorities listed in SPOST VI.

2. All meetings should be held at times that are convenient to all taxpayers.

3. The commission should immediately change the practice of a closed meeting agenda to allow reasonable public input at future meetings.

I don't think any local taxpayer would disagree with the fairness of an acceptable SPLOST program instead of one loaded with special interest projects in these hard times. It just is not right.

It appears the state of Georgia will be looking for more funds for highway construction and it is certain there will be a return by the Gainesville Public Utilities Department to request an increase in water rates.

The taxpayers of Hall County are looking for more consideration and respect at this time from their local elected commissioners.

Terry W. Kuehn

Schools should cut out sports expenses
It is amazing that everyone is talking about cutting education. Just this week, Gainesville City Schools is considering cutting pre-K. This is education, folks. In hard times, we need to cut extra activities.

I have not seen any mention of cutting football, basketball or baseball activities. Gainesville has an enormous football staff and budget and each of them receives additional pay for being a football coach. If you were to eliminate just two of them, you could fund the pre-K.

It is not just Gainesville, but the entire state could cut cost in that area. Maybe we should look at the European model. Their athletics are funded by outside sources and not education funds.

I realize that sports is important, but it is not as important as education. Why are we not focusing on all cost? I would like to see the numbers on what it cost to keep the football field maintained and the travel expenses. Why can we not ask for private monies to fund these activities until we are out of the woods?

George Beasley

Oakwood officers were just doing their jobs
I would like to say thank you to the two officers who stopped me for speeding on Monday afternoon, Officer Mobley and his partner (whose name I did not ask). I was speeding quite a bit over the speed limit in a construction zone. The two officers were really professional and courteous.

I live in Cornelia and often visit my in-laws in Oakwood. I have heard many rumors that Oakwood police were disrespectful and unprofessional. I am here to proclaim to those who believe this that it is untrue.

Officer Mobley and his partner were true to the policeman's credo of protect and serve. Everyone should be respectful to any civil servant, whether police, fire, county, or city government employee. They protect us all.

David Stanley