Re the Jan. 25 editorial commenting on what has happened to the stormwater tax and the new fire tax:
Since the very beginning of this stormwater thing, a few of us have fought it all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court only to be struck down, using a Florida law in their decision. During the three years we contested this, only a few citizens of Columbia County gave us their support. At that time, we questioned, "What was happening to the funds? Where was the work being performed using these funds? How much money was collected? Who was overseeing the operation of these funds? Why was more than $1 million sitting in the bank, not being used? How can you assure the people these funds are being used for this special purpose?
Also, for the past six months or so, the county has annexed another area into this tax. So, Kingston subdivision, how does it feel to pay for the runoff when most of your water goes into Richmond County? People don't realize the county has the authority to annex any area they want to, when they want to, without any prior approval from any citizen in this county.
This whole bag of worms falls under the so-called leadership of our county engineer. Unless things have changed, stick your head out the window and ask these questions; you will get better answers. These people live in another world, and you are an intruder; how dare you question them.
We suggested several times that The News-Times have one of its reporters do a story on this and come up with the answer we could not get. For whatever reason this was never done.
Now that the powers-that-be want to consolidate, what happens to the citizens who are not paying this tax? Will the whole county have to pay it? Will Grovetown and Harlem have to pay? Will the ones paying now stop paying that extra tax? I don't think the county will drop that income. Have you ever seen any county give up a tax they are receiving? The more money they get, the more they spend.
If the citizens are looking for help from our elected officials, forget that. One must remember that Barry Fleming, Jim Whitehead and Diane Ford were on the commission when this white elephant was passed. Since then, most of the other officials spoke out against this tax before they got elected. After they were elected, the memory bank somehow got wiped out. Or maybe the computer crashed.
So, you may ask: Why don't you ask your commissioner these questions? If I had any faith in them I would. You see, I have been down this road many times before.
We only have to look a few miles down the road to see such a well-oiled consolidated government at work. What a big thing it would be for Columbia County citizens to boast, "I live in the fourth, fifth or whatever largest city in Georgia." That, and a large increase in our taxes and other problems, will get you another broken promise from our elected officials.
Maybe if the county department heads would spend more time doing their jobs they have now, instead of sitting around figuring out how to increase their paychecks, we would not have all these "let's see if we can get this passed" episodes.
Donald McLeod, Grovetown
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