Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2010 Overview Commission Review

The Overview Commission’s review is finally in.  Doubtlessly, it will provide grist for the public comment mill for quite a while (or at least I hope so).  That is because in my two runs for the District 1 seat on the Athens-Clarke County Commission, I made the Unified Government’s manifest failure to implement the provisions of its Charter a central focus of both campaigns.

This past year, I similarly hoped to influence the Overview Commission with a series of letters to the editor of the Banner-Herald concerning what the Charter has to say about extending sewer line into the peripheral area of the county (Sections 8-115 and 9-103), enacting differing millage rates in the county's various tax districts (Section 1-105), and turning control of Ben Epps Airport over to the Clarke County Airport Authority (Part II, Chapter 4, Section 23). 
My letter concerning sewer lines prompted this editorial (note the obvious similarities), which in turn prompted this response form District 9's Kelly Girtz about altering the language of the Charter, not to mention my response to that idea.

In the event, the Overview Commission chose not to delve into my cornucopia of issues, save that of extending sewer lines.  For the Overview Commission’s recommendations on the matter, see the Public Utilities section of its review (pages 16-17 of the document, pages 20-21 of the .pdf) and Appendix 5 (page 71 of the document, page 75 of the .pdf, which includes one of those letters to the editor mentioned above).

This is what John Huie over at Flagpole has to say about the Overview Commission’s take on matter:

The government's charter should be amended to "clarify" whether sewer service must be provided "to all residents of the county" as it appears to say. The issue has become "divisive" since ACC commissioners have supported extending water lines throughout the county, but not sewer lines, which they view as driving sprawl development. "The citizens need and deserve a clear statement of [ACC's] position and plan."

Indeed.  My next column for the Banner-Herald will develop this point.

Finally, thanks to those individuals who commented on and sent email messages concerning my inaugural column that used my late father’s military decorations as a lead-in to the point that we frequently do not know people nearly as well as we may think (would-be pundits included).  I discovered that my journey of discovery is hardly unique.

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Scott said...

Well, ACC promised landowners it wouldn't enlarge the landfill at the present location. But it did.

Here's my proposal: Let's remind elected officials and government workers that their promised pensions, and medical insurance coverage, are as flimsy as those words in the Charter!

james said...

You'll get no argument from me.

The argument that the promise not to enlarge the landfill is "legally unenforceable" is, of course, completely separate from the policy decision not to keep the promise. That is because until the policy decision was made not to honor the promise, its enforceability was irrelevant. The enforceability argument is merely an excuse (incorrect) as to why the Unified Government now has to jettison its promise. Had City Hall chosen to honor its promise, enforceability would never have been an issue.

Jim Thompson said...

Welcome aboard, James!