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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 29, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 29, 2019

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May 29, 2019 Page 5A ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN. by Don Daniel A " th all the county spending, including pres- ]Vent and future SPLOST dollars, it is obvi- V ous our county manager is convincing The Fabulous Five to spend more on things like sheriffcars, a grapple truck ($138,400), and $80,399.50 to upgrade the county's weather siren system, etc, etc and etc. I have been a proponent for many years of gradually raising taxes just to keep heads above water Thank good- ness we have the coal taxes from Plant Scherer and creating lower property taxes than our surrounding counties. Past and present commissioners have bragged not only at re-election time how frugal they were/are with our tax dollars. Commend- able but negligent in my opinion. We have a relatively new finance director and county manager, and according to Czar Jim's Powerpoint presentation, "In general it has been a great year financially:'.' Finance officer Lorri Robinson presented the commissioners with a proposal to increase revenues by $1,124,105, but here's the kicker, also to increase expenses by $903,567. And then there was a $16,113 proposal from Monroe County E911 Director Tim Self requesting taxpayer dollars for equipment for the fulltime E911 trainer. Seems like our water meters need an upgrade, and $500,000 will be paid out of, get ready, 2020 SPLOST funds. Sit back with your coffee and read this. One of the agenda items buried close to the end of the meeting made everyone sit up and listen. Here is the full statement presented to the Commissioners from Czar Jim: "Currently Monroe County is losing $1.2 million cash annually on water, the landfill and building inspection fees; including depreciation, we are losing $2.4 million annually. Additionally, with continued growth, our fire and emergency services will need to grow as well as improvement in existing facilities; however, the General Fund and SPLOST revenues cannot sustain the anticipated growth requirement". Get ready, here it comes: What Czar Jim is advocating, suggesting "Is it time to consider a Fire Service Fee?" His explanation: "charging a user fee for fire services (as op- posed to property tax) is a more equitable way to fund fire services since it spreads the cost to all users of the service". We are paying taxes and spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave for 24 hours. Just at the last meeting, according to my rough figuring, over $900,000 went out of the taxpayer funds and raises priority questions where the money is going. There are going to be a lot of questions, in- nuendos and probabilities. What is going to be tough for three of the commissioners, Greg Tapley, Eddie Rowland and Larry Evans, come elec- tion/re-election time, will be their answer to this question: we are already paying taxes for fire service, why are you adding a fee to something we are already paying for? To cut this personal opinion and comment to the chase, the commissioners are going to ask the Carl V'mson Insti- tute over at the University of Georgia to come to the rescue, which we will pay for $6,000 per service, or $20,000 lump sum, for all four of the study services to advise the com- missioners if the fire fee will work to make money for the commissioners to spend. Commissioner John Ambrose was in Alaska and was not at the meeting, but here a few unattributed commissioner comments: "I can go back 30-years"; "I can't remember everything"; "This is my first time"; "Let me be clear"; "If you don't write it down, it is not legal"; "Just write a note"; "We don't want residents to think like residents in the city"; "Don't make no sense at all"; "In your mind"; "Let me answer"; WOW, A lot of readers of this column identified Otis Ingram as the person the commissioners denied a rezoning request. Diane McCoy was the first with the correct answer to The Question and she receives a certificate for a Dairy Queen Blizzard, dozen Dunkin Donuts, Forsyth Main Street t-shirt, slice of Shoney's strawberry pie, slice of Jonah's pizza, Whistle Stop fried green tomato appetizer, dessert at Sweet Tea, sandwich, chip and drink at The Pickled Okra. Here's The Question for this week: Name the Mary Per- sons' valedictorian and salutatorian. First correct answer after 12 noon on Thursday gets the "goody" certificate. MR. E.W. BANKS, the founder of E.W. Banks store on the courthouse square where the Forsyth City Hall used to be, told me one time that the only reason he read the paper was to find out who died and who got married. Obituaries, engagement announcements and of course weddings were reported. Under no circumstances was an editor or proof- reader to change what the funeral home sent, engagement and wedding stories were "non-editable". And there was no charge for the obits. I considered them news stories. And then there were the classified ads. I was always amazed what people advertised in The Classifieds. So the other day checking out the classifieds in the Macon paper under the Announcement heading, there was a first: par- ents, via the classifieds, were announcing the engagement of their daughter. DON'T FORGET to watch The Reporter On The Radio on Forsyth Cablevision and listen to the show on Majic 100 on Sunday momings at 7. Donald Daniel is the founder and former publisher of The Monroe County Reporter Email him at mediadr@bellsouth. net. a porter TO THE To the Editor: She ran for mayor, but was not was also from Culloden then every- Anyone who thought the elected. It seems at least Culloden thing starting clicking into place. good ole boys was out- has standards even if Forsyth is Janice has been covering for Tammie dated is sadly mistaken, seriously lacking them. It would Pierson and I did not realize that at owever, I didn't realize also be nice if the people that ran the heart of this issue was nepotism. until yesterday that the good ole' Forsyth lived in Forsyth. Forsyth is Citizens of Forsyth, we need to boys should actually be called the not a large town by any means, but rise up and demand more of the good ole' girls from Culloden. if we want to continue to grow then people that are running our city. We Tammie Pierson was hired, after we need someone that knows what cannot sit by idly as they run it into Michael Norris resigned, as the they are doing. Personal agendas will the ground. We will still be here after economic developer and zoning not get Forsyth where we want to they have moved on to their next code enforcer for the city of Forsyth. go - if we hire people that are only job, because that is all it is to them. I started doing some research, after trying to move up the ladder and do Forsyth isn't a job to the citizens of recent issues, with the way that Tam- not have a passion for Forsyth- then Forsyth, but a way of life! Demand mie was conducting business for the we will become stagnant. When we that these city officials are actually city. I found out that I was not alone first moved to downtown Forsyth qualified and speak up when they in thinking she was underqualified. I six years ago, the square was a sad are not! Make yourself known and often sit at our planning and zon- area. It was not attractive and had do your part to make sure that we ing meetings listening to her and I no shops really. That is changing, aren't an abandoned city that was wonder if she was the only one that but we are on an economic upswing run into the ground by the good Ole' applied for this position, still. What happens when proper Culloden girls! Tammie Pierson is currently on the planning was not achieved and the Jennifer Taylor city council in Culloden. Consider- next recession starts? Will we end up Forsyth ing that, Culloden has a whopping with more empty buildings that were population of 179 people, I am not beautifully redone like the Blue Tick Jennifer Taylor is co-owner of Yoga on the Square and Ready-to-Move on sure that means anything other than sitting vacant. Does that really do us the Forsyth courthouse square, and a lack of qualified people once you any good? subtract the children and the elderly. Once, I found out that Janice Hall lives in Forsyth. Thanks Trump: Traffic shows economy is good again To the Editor: Adams Street blocked as well. After for progress. Thank you Forsyth and his morning driving into I finally made it around the cement Monroe County business owners, work I had to maneuvertruck and construction crew I made old and new, for sticking around around several equipment the unfortunate mistake of turning and/or choosing Forsyth. And finally trucks on the industrial left down by the feed store to once for the haters out there, thank you center road (I don't even know that again be blocked by trucks picking President Donald Trump for bring- little road's name) to get to the day- up seed, feed, hay or whatever. I was ing us back a strong and prosperous care way out in Smarr. Then on my just trying to.check the mail. Now I economy! way back in I had to wait and even- don't say this in complaint. I say this Tammy Rafferzeder tually reroute around delivery trucks with thanks and gratitude. Thank Forsyth blocking Johnston Street only to find you Forsyth and Monroe County A GRADUATION ADDRESS By Dr. Jim Finch ial medi Mary Persons principal Dr. Jim Finch gave a well-re- ceived address to the Class of 2019 at graduation, con- gratulating them on their success and warning them of the dangers of soc. ial media and student debt. Here is the text: ongratulations to the 89th graduating class of Mary Persons High School! Today, May 24, 2019 is the day that repre- a change in you. Thankfully, you are graduating in a community that supports and believes in a strong education. Make sure that you go forth from today and present yourselves as responsible and produc- tive members of society. Before you embark on the rest of your life, like to talk with you about a couple of issues students face after graduation. One of those issues is tak- ing care of yourself and focusing on your mental health. Today, young adults are facing increas- ing mental health issues. And some of these mental health issues are caused by things that are actually designed to make our lives easier. Consider the advance- ments in technology. Technology has afforded us lightning quick service at our fingertips instant gratification and a know-it-all sense of got-to-have-it-now at- titude. Technology has made us so much more efficient and it is because of these advancements that we can com- municate faster, convene a meeting faster, and even pay someone faster Yet when our lives or careers or relationships don't rise to the level of efficiency that we've accustomed to having, how do we cope with that? Today; many young adults are coping through these issues by connecting further into technology either through so- cial media or text groups via direct messaging. Overuse of social media has many teenagers and adults over con- necting to other people's lives and ignoring their own. Instead of focusing on self-improvement, we're focused on how well we keep up with others or how well we compare to others on social media. Look less at some- one's Instagram posts or how many likes you've received for your own posts. Quit worrying about how many of your Snapchat buddies slide up on your story. And stop rummaging through pictures of your Facebook friends' latest vacation and wonder when you're going to have enough money to go on a trip to Jamaica. Understand that everyone puts their best foot forward on social media to pretend our life is better than yours--so don't get sucked into having to pretend your life is great on social media when your life has just as many challenges and disappointments as the next person's. I mean, think about it who really gets on social media to post pic- tures of themselves in their new summer bathing suits to reveal how much weight they put on in the winter? I can give you a clue: NO ONE. We spend so much time looking at our cell phone screens when we really need to be looking in the mirror and other ways and means of self-discovery to improve oneself. Trust me your mental state will improve by simply putting down your phone and connecting with people the old fashioned way Try it you'll soon see the difference. Another issue graduates face is the debt caused by student loans. If you're not financially able, don't feel as though you have to go to the most prestigious or flag- ship university--or to any university at all for that matter. Just like houses, cars, and other items, purchase the education that YOU can afford--not what you think you need in order to measure up to others. Technical col- leges or local community colleges are just fine and very much affordable. According to data from the Federal Reserve and the Institute for College Access and Success, the data on student loan debt is alarming. 44.5 million student loan borrowers owe 1.5 trillion (that's Trillion with a "T") dollars worth of debt. And the average college graduate? Owes almost $28,500 dollars before starting their first job. Most graduates are not done paying for their student loans until their late 30'S. In fact, 62.5% of Americans over 30 still owe on their student loans. So chase YOUR dreams, not someone else's, but do it in a way that is practical and without saddling yourself with an enormous amount of student loan debt. In addition to some already mentioned tonight, I thought it to be appropriate to include some major accomplishments of the MP Class of 2019. They include: 7 Region Championships 5 Region Runners-up The All-Sports Trophy for Region 2-AAAA A record number of 16 students admitted to our state's flagship uni- versity, UGA, shattering the record held by 2010 and 2017. And that number doesn't include several mem- bers of our top 10 who didn't even apply to UGA who would've nonetheless been accepted. The most prolific Fine Arts Group ever as we had 9 All State Chorus and 2 All State Band members the same 2 who earned all state 4 years in a row! Seniors, as you leave tonight and embark on the next chapter in your life, please remember the famous lyrics from the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic. Those famous lyrics say: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end? Today, you end your high school career and begin the rest of your life! Go on and do great things! Your work here is done, so represent yourself, your family and MPHS to the fullest! Because that same song also has lyrics that go on to say "You don't have to go home. But you can't stay here" Thanks for being a GREAT senior class!! And of course, thanks for being a CHAMP! Be Courteous. Be Honorable. Be Accountable. Be Motivated. And finally always Be Prepared. We will all miss you at Mary Persons. So, congratula- tions to the Class of 2019!!!! YOU ARE TODAY'S CHAMP SHOUT-OUT OF THE DAY!!!!