We know what the doers and shakers want. We know what the county officials want. But, what do the non-activist residents want? A March 1 story in The Augusta Chronicle begins with, "It's a big step toward promoting Columbia County independently."
The headline of the story is "Visitor agency talks begin." It tells about a recommendation for a convention and visitors bureau for Columbia County. My question is, a convention and visitors bureau to do what?
Have you looked at what is happening to Washington Road beyond where Columbia Road splits off? How much more of that do we desire? Why did former Richmond County residents who moved to Columbia County do so? Why did, and do, outsiders who move to the area choose Columbia, instead of Richmond County? And finally, why are our county officials so gung-ho to do to Columbia County what has been done to Richmond County?
Oh sure, I can just hear the "activists." They tell people that those like me, who object to "bigger is better," say something like "I've got mine, now let's stop any more from coming." I can almost hear them in a condescending manner telling us we should realize this will not cost us anything. Tourists and other visitors will pay the fee. But, they conveniently forget to mention the long-term cost.
I'm relatively certain that most permanent Columbia County residents do not want our county to become another Richmond County. But these permanent non-activists need to ask themselves where else is this action taking us? County Commission Chairman Ron Cross is quoted as saying, "To me, it's just another step in the transition of doing more things on our own."
Let me ask a question: What is so wrong with Columbia County contributing to the Augusta Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau? So far as I have read or heard, the only thing they are doing wrong is not working hard enough for more industry in Columbia County. Is that really what we want?
I say let's help Augusta and Richmond County get more industry. Let's help keep Columbia County the area's bedroom community. Why not? If our movers and shakers are so concerned with getting funding to pay for infrastructure and school additions, why are they so terribly opposed to a one-time impact fee on each new addition? So far as I have seen, "impact fee" is almost a dirty word with Columbia County officials. Do you suppose the reason is so we can support more contractors and real estate salespeople? In many, if not most, other areas of the country, a very well known saying is "Let growth pay for growth." Why are we suckers doing it instead?
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