The tax payers of Bryan County have just witnessed magic; an excess of tax money has, in one week transformed into a deficit, and what are the "good stewards" of our money doing? Why, increasing the budget of everything.
We are getting a new sewage/water system. Since Big Developers are the huge beneficiary of that, how much are they kicking in? Nothing!
It's been put on the backs of taxpayers. There should be an impact fee on large developments, but the commission is dragging their feet on the issue, meanwhile they race to approve all the large tracts of developable land which exempts them from that fee if it passes. The ones who will be affected will be the very small tract owners.
They can't seem to find anything in the budget to cut. Well here’s one for you taxpayers in North Bryan County.
Our Development Authority went out and, through hard negotiation, swung us a deal on 300 acres of land at three times the going rate for swampland.
Just wait till your next property assessment and you will see what I mean. The Development Authority has so much money they will spend it on anything. I can show you a waste of probably $50,000-$100,000 five minutes from my house, and they did all of this with our money.
Now we look for ways to increase our tax base. Their ideas? Increase the fire tax, but we won't spend it on fire equipment.
I know, taxpayers already pay for EMS, but if we are slick we can start an EMS fee and not spend it on emergency service.
A question for our super lawyer, is any of that legal? Gee, I keep forgetting The Commission doesn’t answer questions for the public at large.
How do we know if the budget can’t be cut? They have the budget meetings at 3 p.m. in the afternoon. County governments have found that you have a lot less pesky taxpayers at the meetings if you had them when everyone is at work trying to make the money that they want to throw away.
Still don’t think they are throwing your money away? What about SPLOST money they are taking out loans to get equipment that there is no emergency need of, thereby paying 2-3 times as much for it because of the interest we are paying.
So, is our Commission good stewards of our money? I think not. We the people better get off of our butts and get involved or the only ones we will have to blame will be the one who looks back at you in the mirror. There are some things funded by the state that, as soon as we are "hooked," the state will withdraw funding and we will be stuck with it. In the paper, Commissioners Roberts and Bacon want to increase the Recreational budget by $500,000.00, to put it in their words, "Just because."
It’s been done before, we need a group of concerned citizens to form a group to help our Commissioners out in their desperate hour of budget deficit. My phone number is (912) 858-2708. We need to act now before our county is turned over to the developers whose only interest is to cram as many people into as small a space as they can much to the delight of our ruling board of commissioners, who will then have a bunch of tax money to spend on anything they want.
Call your district commissioner and tell them "NO" to user fee schemes. Tell them you want the next budget meeting at 7 p.m. so we the people can attend. They can vote on their budget after that.
You only need to look next door to Effingham county to see what happens to your taxes and your county’s quality of life by doing nothing!
Wayne Carney, Ellabell