Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross has outlined his reasons for consolidation (guest column, Sept. 25, "Consolidation vital to county future"). Let me briefly address some of those reasons he gives.
He says consolidation "puts our name on the map." I'm sorry, I don't buy that. Money magazine just voted Evans the 32nd most desirable place to live in the U.S. They found us on the map without being consolidated.
Cross mentions "additional revenue from franchise fees" as being another reason for consolidation and then goes on to tell us as a result that we can expect a 3 percent increase in our gas and phone bills as the utilities "pass through" this franchise fee to their customers. Again, I'm sorry, but I don't want my utility bills being raised so that Cross and our other commissioners can get their hands on another $5 million.
Cross also tells us that consolidation will make us eligible for more federal funding. Federal funding is a welfare state of mind. It is an effort to get something at someone else's expense. Along with federal funding comes more federal control, and I believe this will help to bring public housing to Columbia County. Crime will increase as a result, and we will become just like Richmond County which was the place that so many of us fled.
Federal funding seems to be such a popular idea, but it is like a slop trough where hogs gather to glut. I want less governmental control, not more. Federal funding is a Pandora's Box, and you won't know what is there until it is too late. I find it disgusting that a bunch of so called "Republican commissioners" have adopted this welfare mentality.
William R. Quattlebaum Jr.
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