Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length (limit of 500 words). Letters originating from other sources or those involving personal, business or legal disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.
To find a form to send a letter, click here
In November, the people of Hall County will have the opportunity to elect leaders who they feel best represent their views and opinions. Many of these newly elected officials will begin their new terms with high hopes and sincerity in their efforts for the people in their districts.
Unfortunately, because the system at the state and federal levels has not changed, only those representatives with the largest war chests are usually elected or re-elected. It seems the longer these officials remain in office, the more complacent they become and they tend to respond not to their constituents but to political favors they owe. Many politicians who lose an election also remain in the arena and become lobbyists who still peddle their influences.
With the rare exception, this type of government doesn't occur at the local level. Unfortunately, recent events in Hall County may have broken the people's trust and manifested this type of behavior locally.
Our commissioners are entrusted with the wise expenditure of our tax dollars. This spending can occur in three ways. First, there is the budgetary process. Second, spending would take place in a special purpose local option sales tax. Responsibility of the expenditure of these funds is enormous and falls on the integrity and wise use by our elected officials.
Two recent examples of total failure of this process are the SPLOST V funds used to purchase property in Clermont in 2007 for a library. When the people of Clermont voted to approve SPLOST VI, they assumed the library was a reality for them. Similarly, the location of Fire Station No. 3 was to be built with SPLOST V funding in 2004.
Now both projects are no longer under consideration by the commission. This situation came about even after Hall County Public Works Director Ken Rearden warned that the proposed library on Nopone Road lies in a flood plain or a flood way that would require additional costs for construction. The commission did not hesitate to recommend this location over Clermont.
The third option available for the commissioners is the people's bonding authority. This option has been used as a funding mechanism for the proposed Nopone Road library during a shortfall in SPLOST revenues.
Ignoring the wishes and being disrespectful of the people of Hall County are the reasons why it may be time for a closer look at its operations. A resolution shortly after the passage of SPLOST VI guaranteeing the first funds would construct a walkway from the Mountains Center might prove to be very useful as a direct route, after all, to the county jail.
Terry W. Kuehn