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Economic development letter criticizes Watchdogs on county budget issues

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LETTER CRITICIZES WATCHDOGS ON COUNTY BUDGET ISSUES

DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF J ASPER COUNTY.

December 19,2005



Jasper County Board of Commission ,

Jasper County Courthouse .-.--..

Montccllo, GA 31064 ,

Dear Board of Commissioners:

The Development Authority of Jasper County received a letter on November 1 7' regarding the decision of the BOC to cut our funding by 20%, a decision that was made during the second Budget Public Hearing on November 1 0*. Our Executive Director. Tracy Trovillo, attended the first Budget Public Hearing, just days before. After the hearing she asked Jack Bernard and Charles Hill if the DAJC budlget would remain the agreed upon amount stated in the first Hearing. They both assured her that the amount presented at this meeting would be what is voted on at the next Budget Hearing. Therefore, no one from our board attended the second Budget Hearing.

During. that first Budget Hearing, the only public commenter referenced a 65% collection rate in Curbside Garbage, which would cause a $250,000 shortfall. The citizen, a member of the Tax Payer Watchdogs, stated that other cuts would need to be made to offset this shortfall. From the end of that meeting to the next Budget Hearing, apparently the Tax Payer Watchdogs had a chance to influence some of the commissioners to change their commitment to the public.

The public was not made aware of how the nine recipients of budget cuts were selected. But it appears that the majority of the BOC accepted the recommendations of the Tax Payer Watchdog's. It does appear that those selected are on the Tax Payer Watchdog's "Budget Cut List" anyway.

Each commissioner represents the constituents he serves in his district. How can adherence to selective recommendations without diversity of opinions from their district be a fair and representative way of making decisions for his district? Unless all of the people he serves are of like-mind with the TPWs then decisions made based on their recommendations are selective and discriminatory and he, in turn, is not representing his constituents fairly.

What we are requesting is that the BOC consider other options for potential budget shortfalls, such as increasing curbside garbage collections or forfeiting paying $14,000 for a county wage study. The 20 % cuts for our organization are almost debilitating. It translates into either nearly no operational costs, including severe reduction of phone services and board members not getting the training that is required by legislation, or staff hours reduced to part-time. It means that we will have more difficulty than we already do in attracting new industry and thus, helping to offset higher property taxes. Our savings account is designated for development projects not administrative costs. We have no other funds that could replace the cut funds. Thank you for your consideration.


Sincerely,

Paul Holmes, Chairman of DAJC

Cc: Greg Williams

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