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Forsyth, Georgia
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January 8, 2020     The Monroe County Reporter
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January 8, 2020
 

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January 8, 2020 ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN by Don Daniel Predictions for 2020 in Monroe County ou saw/heard the news about some church members out in Texas stopping a potential church massacre with a couple of the parishioners quick on the draw and killing the intentions of the deranged. I go to a small church. I know most of the people sitting in the pews and the congregation always welcomes strangers and newcomers. What I don’t know nor care to know is how many of the congregation are “packing heat” More and more church’s deacons and pastors are offering firearms training, bringing in legitimate and licensed gun toters .. to train certain members of the ' ’ congregation on how to protect M those praying, singing and listen- W ing to the sermon. I was told a ‘ few years ago classes were given by our Sheriff’s oflice to local churches on how to provide their own church security program, and it was not how to throw a Bible or hymnal I understand it was offered at the church in Texas and obviously it was worth the Prayers and training were answered. I IUST don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I did have a bowl of oyster stew on New Year’s Eve h0ping for a posi- tive change in my life. As I heard a person lament, “I make New Year’s resolutions that last until New Year’s Day. Always makes for interesting conversations at New Year’s Eve par- ties” ' I asked a couple of “sages” and prognosticators what was in the future for Forsyth and Monroe County. He/ she convinced me several of their last year’s crystal ball predic- tions came true: (1) Forsyth city council would lose their suit against the railroad and NS would close the Indian Springs crossing; (2) Chief of Monroe County and EMS would be dismissed, offered the opportunity to resign; (3) the county manager will not stay in the job through 2020; (4) the T- SPLOST would not pass; the present county commission chairman and District One commissioner will keep their seats in the 2020 election. No cheating, but share a couple of your prognostica- tions and I will share, anonymously with the readers of this column. OBVIOUSLY I did not correctly nor clearly ask “The Question”, how many dollar stores are there in Monroe County. Debbie Nelson answered “I think the answer to the questions is three dollar stores” 'lhere are six Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc. in Monroe County. Debbie you are still going to get the goodie certificate. Here’s The Question for this weelc How much is it going to cost us taxpayers to have the former Hubbard Middle School demolished? First correct answer after 12 noon on Thursday, gets a certificate for a Whistle Stop fried green tomato appetizer, slice of Shoney’s strawberry pie, single dip of ice cream from Scoops, dozen Dunkin donuts, Dairy Queen Blizzard, slice of Ionah’s pizza and a Forsyth Main Street t-shirt. LEGISLATION HAS been passed by our US. Congress and is waiting on President Trump’s signature that could fine robocallers $1,000 per call for nuisance and scam calls. I wonder if that law is applicable to President Trump? Just this past weekend, The President “called” me three times. Each time I told him I was going to vote for him but I could not afford to send him a donation because I had not yet received my pittance Social Security check. THIS IS how our national government works. Here’s the story: For a company coming off its best year ever, Amtrak reported an adjusted (whatever that means) operating loss of--—get ready--—$29.8 billion. HERE’S ANOTHER government story and it is a local story about how our local tax money is going to be spent: Not to be outdone by the City of Forsyth building a “dog park”, the Board of Education is considering building a park with part of the money it is going to cost to demolish the Hubbard Middle School building. And again not to be outdone, the BOE is also considering a walking trail and playground How many parks does the City of Forsyth have/ proposed? Six. ONE MORE ridiculous “guvment” story: the outrage over vaping and consequent deaths with e-cigarettes reached the “hallowed halls of Congress” with the intention to ban against all types of those flavored electric puffing devices. President Trump was hell-fired and determined to elimi- nate all forms, flavors and usage of e-smokes but all of a sud— den, the e-cigarette lobby opened their billfolds and check books and the intentions of Congress and President Trump got flushed. The only thing that got banned was the flavored juices withnicotine and menthol flavors still abundantly available. I DON’T THINK the Forsyth Police Department and Monroe County Sheriffs’ Department have changed their policies in regard to high-Speed chases. But Atlanta’s mayor ‘ announced no more high-speed chases in the city. Will the county, Forsyth and State Patrol cease the high—speed chases? Wonder if The Pit Maneuver can still be used. GOT A comment, suggestion, want to answer “The Ques- tion? Email me at mflaybear@beflsouth.net. Be mine, Will’s and Richards guest on The Reporter On The Radio on Majic 100 Sunday mornings at seven or anytime by clicking on the radio tab at mymcmet. Don Daniel is the founder and former publisher of The Monroe County Reporter. Email him at tullaybear@bellsouth. net Page 5A GUEST COLUMN by County Commissioner Eddie Rowland A look back, and the way forward bout three years ago, I made the comment to a couple of commission— ers that I really believed we could be the most consequential commission in recent history. I felt we had the energy and business experience to bring positive change to Monroe. We still had enough experienced board mem— bers to maintain necessary procedural constraints, but were not tied to past commission philosophy or limited by political longev- heads, finance, and public opinion on the most pressing needs facing our county. This was an exhaustive and pent up list of both reactive and proactive problems and solutions. Once the three top leadership enti- ties, the board of commissioners, the finance department, and the county manager/ department heads, had their work list in front of them, they all went to work. Here are some of the results: o Set up in-house payroll that works and gets our ity fears. We just felt we payroll tax problems could do things better. This behind us. year has been an extremely Eliminate the need for busy and productive year ROWLAND TAN notes to make our for our county and we income last to the end of have accomplished a great the year. deal. I would like to share some of those accomplishments along with 2020 plans for our future. From the beginning, I saw finance and management as our two most pressing issues. There were other is— sues but those two were fundamen- tal to change our county business from haphazard and reactive to organized and proactive. The hiring of a well-qualified finance direc- tor along with a seasoned county manager was a great start. The finance director immediately began to put our finances in order and this orderliness along with some inten- sive budget management allowed our county to end the practice of borrowing in the fall to make it to the end of the year. It also allowed us to carry a minimum contingency of around $2 million, both of which had not been done in many years. Our auditor verified this by his glowing comments on the complete turnaround finance had taken. Finance is now properly staffed and not only handles our money but also provides a great deal of financial direction with regard to income and spending. This makes it much easier for the commission to make prudent decisions. _ Next was the decision to hire a qualified county manager. But hiring the position was only part of the change that had to be made. In a decision that goes against the power that some have wielded as commis- sioners, we chose to truly let the manager manage the county. This is still somewhat difficult for us as commissioners to follow. We still have the desire as leaders and busi- ness owners to want to dig in and fix things ourselves. We are learning. We make mistakes. But our general consensus is that the county will run most effectively under the county manager form of government. The county manager immediately went to work gathering information from commissioners, department - Established a contingency fiind. Set employee salaries competi- tive with similarly sized or closely located counties. . o Greatly improved EMS collec— tions for ambulance runs. o Set recreation fees to a reasonable expected rate for users. o Set inspection fees at competitive rates to bring this service closer to break even. c Proactive water billing and col- lections. New policies that will bring us to break even within 5 years while not overburdening seniors and lower usage residences. ‘ o Replaced outdated water meters with radio read meters for improved efficiency and ability to provide more detailed usage reports to customers. o New water monitoring system to identify and fix water supply prob- lems, reducing failures. o Hired new in-house I.T. spe- cialist that has increased training, more proactively responded to IT. needs in county business, and saved expense by doing projects in house vs. contracting. . LT. and recreation worked to- gether to add increased monitoring and security at recreation depart- ment for a fraction of the cost of outside contracting. o Hired a new chief building inspector to manage the department and provide knowledge for added growth. - Newly hired animal control director has greatly improved the facilities, safety of animals, and working relationship with volunteers and rescue groups. Zoning director continues to in- crease education in this service and is establishing open and accessible informational paths for citizen use and benefit. - Road, vehicle and building main— tenance investments have continued to strengthen these services with quicker response time and increased effectiveness o New facelift to the conference center with more improvements planned. - Completed the new fire station and move-in with landscape left to finish. o Have completed a reach-out community project in Culloden and are working on other such project ideas and implementations in High Falls, Juliette, and Bolingbroke. - Completed Hubbard renovation and move-in. Thank you, Commis— sioner Evans. - Made strides in working towards solutions in internet expansion. Great job, Commissioner Emami. o Appointed three new hospital board members who are diligently working to maintain this service while keeping costs in check. o Replaced many aging and out- dated vehicles in sheriff and other depts. o Have continued to work collab— oratively with our sheriff, the school board, and the cities of Forsyth and Culloden, making Monroe a great place to call home. Many departments are not men- tioned above but they are equally appreciated and just quietly go about their daily business of run- ning the services of our county. Now, as we look to 2020, we have new challenges that await. We want to maintain the great service we do in EMS but revamp the fire service with new leadership and improved relations with volunteers. We have a new judicial building to approve and have built. We have expansion decisions to make and implement in our recreation department. We will continue to work towards making internet expansion a reality. We will complete and implement a plan to reduce our energy and utility costs in our physical plants. We will continue to look for ways to keep up with an expanding and aging road system. We will achieve these and other opportunities to expand and improve services by govern- ing and decision making and leave the implementation to the qualified professionals we have hired. We will strive to do these new ventures in the most cost conscious and effective way and, as in 2019, with no tax increase burden to the property owners. Thank you for hir- ing me to run your county business and I will continue to take this job to heart each and every day I do it. As always, I will watch your money like it was my own and pray about my decisions. God bless Monroe County. Eddie Rowland of Smarr represents District 2 on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Kemp breaking immigration promise To the Editor: ov. Kemp has regularly boasted of his business- first approach to govern- ing and further enhancing the climate for corporate profit in Georgia. But the watchdog media has neglected to note the trade-offs he has made. Or the trusting con- servative voters he has betrayed by ignoring campaign promises. Surprising few political insiders, illegal immigration seems to have dropped off of the Governor’s radar since Election Day, 2018. The left-leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute says Georgia is home to more “undocumented workers” than green card holders. DHS says we host more illegals than Arizona. A recent IRS/ ICE raid in metro-Atlanta on six supermarkets resulted in the arrest of forty-six illegal alien workers and the seizure of boxes of employment and tax records. ‘ This, despite state laws passed nearly every year since 2006 to make Georgia inhospitable to illegal im- migration. The regulations in place - including state’s the E-Verify laws - would serve the intended purpose if they were actually enforced -- or even noted by Gov. Kemp. Georgians should realize that most illegal immigration is a direct result of illegal employment and must be recognized as the organized crime that it is. Kemp is silent on the entire issue. “Business friendly” is a term that is counter to “pro-enforcement” on immigration. Dalton conservatives have their own problems closer to home in that Republican state Sena- tor Chuck Payne has pledged his allegiance to the billionaire-funded anti-enforcement group ‘FWD.us’ that lobbies in Washington DC. and the state Capitol. Payne has de- scribed his work with the group as “a moral imperative and a political ob- ligation to my constituents and the health of our country and economy.” Conservative voters who can remember back to the summer of 2018 may recall “Brian Kemp’s Track and Deport Plan” which was an ex- tremely detailed campaign promise aimed at illegal aliens who commit additional crimes. “As governor, conservative businessman Brian Kemp will create a comprehensive database to track criminal aliens in Georgia. He will also update Geor— gia law to streamline deportations from our jails and prisons” went the pledge. We challenge readers to find any mention of any of this from the governor -- or the Georgia media since he was elected. All this is yet another brilliant example of “silence is consent” and will continue until GOP voters find the courage to challenge the gover- nor and the business lobby that has taken over the Gold Dome. D.A. King Marietta King is president of the Georgia- based Dustin Inman Society, which advocates for immigration enforce- ment. let our voice be heard. Email letters tot e editor to publisher@mymcr.nei