The recent letter regarding the county's fire tax by Bryan Hood, the Appling firefighter, hits the nail on the head in a number of aspects.
A lot of people are questioning whether or not Columbia County will mishandle the money and many believe it will not go for its intended use. The money for new equipment and other items will have to come from the sales-tax funds if and when the tax is voted back in. As I have said in county meetings on this subject, I believe that a citizens oversight committee is needed to make sure that the funds are accounted for and distributed in a fair and equitable manner.
The fire/rescue teams have done an outstanding job in the county given the resources they have had. The ability to collect the money from all users will help them do a better job.
This "fire tax" is and probably should have been a tax all along. The fire departments are real entities and provide a valuable service to all Columbia County residents.
The "stormwater tax" is disguised as a fee for which there are no "services" rendered. One only has to ask: What services have been provided and paid for when a large portion of the money collected, along with state funded capital money, is sitting in a bank drawing 1 percent interest?
Thats right! Just under $3 million - you didn't misread it. The money that was desperately needed for all the stormwater issues is sitting dormant and drawing only 1 percent. I think that even the worst money manager in the county could do better than that.
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