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Your Views: Hall must rein in spending, property taxes
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I am a schoolteacher by trade. If I showed up at church next Sunday driving a Porsche, it would raise a few eyebrows. Hopefully, a few of my friends would pull me aside, explain some basic economic principles, and I would see the error of my ways. I would plead temporary insanity, sell the car, cut my losses, and grow wiser through my foolish (and costly) experience.

I wish that our county government learned so easily. Our local leaders and their proxies have once again begun a campaign to convince the voters that more taxes are good for us. In the last round of SPLOST propaganda, we were promised practical, efficient, and necessary government facilities. What we received instead (among other things) were two buildings that cost nearly $40 million dollars (combined) the courthouse and the aquatics center.

I cannot speak for the courthouse, but I will venture a fairly accurate guesstimate that the aquatics center will consume in excess of $750,000 of operations and maintenance costs each year. Those expenses are not paid for by SPLOST dollars, thus inevitably leading to increased property taxes in order to fund purportedly capital expenditures.

By sinking millions of tax dollars into these facilities, local leaders have created a county in which working class folks cannot afford to live. It is not federal income taxes that bury teachers, firefighters and policemen; we don't earn enough. It is property taxes.

In the midst of a deepening recession, when businesses are cutting expenses and reducing operations, Hall County is asking its citizens to pay more sales taxes to build more buildings that will force our property taxes to go up even more. One might be tempted to think that they are purposely driving the rest of us out of their country club.

To return to my original analogy, if I ignored the advice of caring friends and added a Lamborghini to my luxury automobile collection, I would deserve whatever repercussions followed my unrepentant largesse. If our local governments persist in their desire to increase taxes and expand government, they will be rewarded at the ballot box.

Perhaps a "no" vote on March 17 will awaken them to the economic reality that the rest of us are living in.

Kevin Jarrard

Professor's work in Pakistan builds bridges
Thank you for Monday's story on an inspiring woman and Christian, Cheryl Burke, who is a professor and dean of students at Forman Christian College University in Lahore, Pakistan. We at First Presbyterian are most proud of Cheryl for her work with Christians and Muslims at the school.

We also admire the support her parents, Charles and Sharon Burke, offer her. It cannot be easy to see your daughter go off to a part of the world where Christians are looked down on.

Cheryl is a wonderful example of how Christians can bridge the gap between and among differing faiths. We at First Presbyterian consider it a privilege to provide her with some of the support she needs and look forward to raising more money for her and others at our World Mission Conference in February.

Students at Forman are blessed to have Cheryl as a professor and administrator. We are all blessed to know her.

Again, thank you for a wonderful story.

Larry and Mardi Morris

An unfinished present:Paving of Cagle Road
Dear Hall County commissioners: I've been a pretty good boy this year and I had really expected to get the one Christmas gift I wanted - finish paving Cagle Road, just off Ga. 365 near Lula.

You had started patching the road and I thought it was going to be nicely paved, but I guess somebody in South Hall needed it worse. I guess I should be pleased you didn't scrape up what was already there and ship it south. It just goes to show, be proud of what you've got and don't get greedy.

PS: I even left a cookie and milk out.

Signed, Santa's friend on Cagle Road.

Rick Chapman

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