In Dave Stewart's Nov. 2 letter, he attacks the concept of a city form of government. He goes on about the city having a "monopoly inside the city limits," etc. Well, what's he doing living in the city of Grovetown? Why does he not move into the county?
Stewart rants about growth in the county and ignores the fact that the city of Grovetown is one of the fastest-growing areas of the county. He attacks developers in the county, yet they are the same developers working in Grovetown. He calls county commissioners "punks" for working to make sure there is housing for their citizens, yet praises Grovetown's government for doing the same thing. He has no problem with Grovetown collecting franchise fees, yet he does not want the rest of the county to receive these funds.
It sounds like he likes the rapid growth, city form of government and the collection of franchise fees for his city, but not for the rest of the county. It looks like his real reason to oppose consolidation is to keep Grovetown expanding. It is ironic that he has no problem with Grovetown expanding the "monopoly inside the city limits" form of government and thereby increasing their franchise fee take, but he attacks the rest of the county for even discussing the possible benefits of that form of government.
Some of Stewart's ranting and personal attacks on the Columbia County Commission is too crazy to even respond to. However, his comment that Doctor's Hospital "made a magnanimous deal" to "transfer that huge piece of multimillion dollar real estate to the county" is ridiculous. ... They did not give it to us. The county paid market value for it. The commission had the vision to purchase that property for a town square-like park. Now, they have obtained a concept plan for this property, and as they have always done, they are seeking public input to see if the citizens agree or want changes.
As for impact fees, this is the first commission to form a committee to study how to implement these type of fees as they are very restricted per state law. As is this commission's custom, they formed a committee to study an issue, get public input and then make an informed decision.
As for these potential fees coming from developers' pockets, Stewart needs to take a lesson in basic economics. The citizens who buy the homes will pay these fees, not developers. When government adds a tax or fee to a service or product, it is the citizens who pay it. That is why all governments should study any increase in fees or taxes very carefully, which this commission is doing.
By the way, you notice that Stewart does not advocate the mayor/city council of Grovetown implement an impact fee in his "monopoly inside the city limits" of Grovetown.
Let's let the citizens of Columbia County study consolidation to see if the benefits and franchise fees that Grovetown and Harlem currently enjoy may be of benefit for the other 85-90 percent of the population.
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