Facing $1.27 million in revenue cuts when Gov. Sonny Perdue "froze" the state's Homestead Tax Relief Grant, Columbia County commissioners recently called upon all of the county's departments to identify cuts to help make up the deficit.
Leading by example in these uncertain times, commissioners and an entourage of bureaucrats are packing their bags and leaving town today for a "planning" trip at a swanky resort.
Don't worry; they'll be back in time to vote on those cuts.
All those county departments? "They've had to scramble through their budget to see what could be done," says County Administrator Steve Szablewski.
Those proposed budget cuts include $360,000 from the sheriff's office and another $189,000 from the detention center. Roads and bridges could take a $71,000 hit, while recreation could cut $52,000 and libraries could lose $33,000.
Tough times, all right. That's one of the reasons voters came close to shooting down the sales tax referendum last week.
Yet commissioners are leaving town today for the drive to Lake Oconee's Reynolds Plantation resort for their annual "Planning Advance ... concerning proposed initiatives for 2009." They'll study "new initiatives" today under the guidance of a facilitator from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, and go behind closed doors Thursday for an "executive session."
And you're picking up the tab.
Perhaps one of those "new initiatives" should be to gaze longingly at Lake Oconee, and notice the striking similarity to Clarks Hill Lake. (Hint: They're both lakes.)
Then, next year, they could pick a spot here at home for their "retreat" rather than having county taxpayers once again foot the bill for their little out-of-town junket to Lake Oconee.
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