A question for Barry Paschal: What part of A tax is a tax, regardless of the innocuous, euphemistic title applied to it by the city (make that the county) dont you understand? That quote came from the United States District Court judgment in the stormwater civil tax case. That was the reason that Judge Dudley Bowen said that the case doesnt belong in federal court.
I learned long ago, while doing audits and investigations, what people dont say is, in many cases, more important than what they do say. Why didnt Paschal make that very important statement (column, April 23, Playing ball with lawyers)? The column goes on to say taxpayers will probably get hit again with higher taxes to pay for stormwater improvements that the fee would no longer exist to fund. The people were already being taxed, without their approval - the fee is a higher tax!
Columbia County officials were warned both verbally and in writing before the stormwater fee was launched that their actions would provoke the actions that have been taken and have resulted in the current situation. The lawyers won out and created the current dilemma.
Paschals column makes an outstanding point. The lawyers benefit at the expense of the county taxpayer. It appears that the assumption is that the county saves because it probably wont have to pay anything to (former county clerk) Elaine Matthews. What isnt brought into that equation is, what would the taxpayers have paid over the years had the shady landfill deal been acted upon?
One has to ask: Why are the lawyers not acting in the best interest of the taxpayer? Their job is not to protect the elected officials from getting into political doo-doo, but to represent the citizens of the county.
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