Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Impertinent Observations

Now that I have the new gig over at the Banner-Herald, posting may be somewhat sporadic here at TOA.  Even so, I am not technically a shill for the corporate masters at Morris Communications.  I am, instead, a freelancer writing under contract to the folks at One Press Place about whatever attracts my interest.  And we all know what that usually is.

New mayor Nancy Denson has named new chairs to the commission’s two standing committees.  Says Blake’s article:

Under former Mayor Heidi Davison, the two super-district commissioners - most recently Hamby and Girtz - chaired the committees because they each represent half the county and, at least theoretically, have broader interests and larger constituencies than the eight regular commissioners.

Davison organized the two committees in 2003. Government Operations vets internal government policies like sidewalk construction and fees for recreation programs, while Legislative Review considers proposed laws. Each has five members and, while the chairmen run the meetings, the mayor assigns the issues the committees tackle.

As the article makes clear, chairmanship of either committee is an administrative task, not necessarily a policy-making one.  Even so, I appreciate former mayor Davison’s rationale for naming chairmen.  On the other hand, if Denson was intending to send a message that her administration was going to be more centrist, just as her campaigned promised, this was a good place to start.

On another matter, once again I was ahead of the curve.  Close on the heels of this column from last Sunday in which I lament the land acquisition practices of the Unified Government, we discover that City Hall is going to buy even more land for the SPLOST-funded “tennis center,” which has turned into nothing but a money pit.

I posted what appears below over on the Banner-Herald comment board, quoting from the article:

Although county officials had said they did not have money to buy land for the tennis center, they said Tuesday that the deal is too good to pass up. Cornerstone is asking $240,000 for the property, well below its $362,000 assessed value and the $2.2 million the YWCO wanted for 9 acres off Research Drive.


Still, the purchase will push the tennis center's cost to $3.1 million, and only $2.3 million in sales tax revenue is budgeted. Other funding will include $240,000 from a contingency fund and $430,000 in interest from the SPLOST program, Reddish and Leisure Services Director Pam Reidy said.

So we don’t have the money within the existing tennis center budget to build it on land the Unified Government already owns, but we have money to purchase additional land on which to build it?

So if City Hall buys the property for “well below” its assessed value, will the assessments of neighboring property owners be reduced to reflect this new market value?

So, given the years of angst that has accompanied the design and placement of the tennis center, we will overcome legitimate concerns as to the desirability and utility of whatever is built by simply throwing more money at the damned thing?

Go ahead, keep telling me how frugal City Hall is with my tax money.

Addendum - see the Banner-Herald article for scads of comments

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was perhaps a chance that the mayor and commission could have held the Tennis Center money for use somewhere else. They could have changed the SPLOST law or other sort of stuff.

I think they will not so much regret doing what they are doing, but they will have to work even harder to find savings elsewhere in the money crunch.

Of course, driving middle and lower income housing individuals out of ACC -- though high property taxes -- accomplishes many 'objectives' with the same crude instrument. Apartheid between inside the loop and outside ... wasn't enough!