03 June 2018

TPC Sunday Edition, 6/3/18: Newton Co. Feeling the Heat on Proposed Tax Increase? JDA & Letters to the Editor

The Piedmont Chronicles
Your Source for the REAL Story

Salve, cara lectores, et alia ad receperint editione verborum dierum Pedemontium!

Latin, FTW! Magistra Manson would be so proud. Of course, she'd probably correct the previous translation.  

Another week in the books here in the Glorious Georgia Piedmont. We had some rain, and a few laughs. All in all, it was a pretty good week. Still, an unusual quietness, though. I was talking with one of the T.N. Chiefs & we agreed this is usually a precursor to some major ---- going down. So, we shall see.  

Newton Co. Feeling the Heat on the Proposed Tax Increase?  

I was made aware first thing Friday morning when I got the official notice email from Ms. Jackie, Clerk of the Newton BOC, that the budget public hearing scheduled for Tuesday the 5th was being cancelled. According to the Newton Co. Public Information Office the hearing was cancelled so other budget options could be explored.  

Well, that's one way you could put it.  

Based on our information, there's a borderline state of full-scale rebellion going on with many Newton Co. taxpayers right now. After the inexplicable & questionable increases in tax assessments coupled with the irresponsible proposed budget (and the corresponding proposed millage increase), there's a general sentiment of "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" among many in our community, including at least a couple of the BOC Commissioners. Read some background info that we published last week & then also the thoughts of Mr. Larry McSwain from a couple of days ago. There will still be a BOC work session on the budget at 6PM at the Historic Courthouse before the regular meeting at 7.  

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JDA  (Joint Development Authority)

It was reported this week that the $25,000 bonus payments for landing the Facebook deal for Shane Short & Serra Hall, ED Directors from Walton & Newton, respectively, that were originally approved back in April, will be paid out by the Joint Development Authority. Hell, what's $50K when you're talking about $42 billion bond deals anyway? But seriously, with the salaries & benefits folks like this are making, this doesn't really seem to be a wise use of taxpayer money. But...it's happening.  

The JDA also approved future 2% fees on real estate & bond fees for both Walton & Newton for projects that they're responsible for bringing to fruition. Sounds like robbing Peter to pay Paul.  

However, that's not the biggest issue I currently have with the JDA. No, based on my information, the JDA is paying authority attorney Andrea Gray her attorney billable hourly rate (over $200 per hour based on our info) to perform ministerial & administrative acts such as preparing & printing meeting agendas & other similar activities. Again, this does not appear to be a good use of taxpayer money.  

Letters to the Editor

In response to Mr. Lovett’s article “A Race to the Bottom: Considering American Public Schools” “In short: the schools suck.” That’s not an opinion, its reality. I’ve held numerous occupations over the years, including raising four sons in the public school system, but the last two years working as an elementary school substitute teacher have completely opened my eyes – and left me crying. To start, I’ve met many –wonderful- teachers. They love their students, are dedicated, devoted, and have their hands tied behind their backs by bureaucrats. They are told what to teach, how to teach it, and none of it makes sense including “teaching to the test.” There are SO many rants I could go off on. Math has to be the first. When my oldest was in high school I helped him with his algebra homework. I didn’t do it for him but coached him through it and taught him how to check his answers. Every single one was correct. He got a ZERO because it wasn’t done the “correct way.” When I asked for the “correct way” I was given a website with more problems, and no direction on what the “correct way” was. That brings me to common core math. I’m an old programmer. Yes, I do remember computers before Windows and once upon a time I was proficient in four different numbering systems. Common core makes me want to bang my head on a wall. Helping our granddaughters’ with their homework was hard enough (I taught them the “old school” method of addition and subtraction, then told them to take the rest up with their teachers.) Trying to teach a class of 26 to 28 something that simply “does not compute” boggled my mind. When I was informed 11 and 12 are now considered “teen” numbers I almost blew a gasket! I get ten, eleven, twelve, thirTEEN, fourTEEN, fifTEEN… *SCREAM* There is no TEEN in eleven and twelve. Period. That’s my short rant for now, but if you’re so inclined I can go off on the internet lesson plans, discipline (or lack thereof), fidget spinners, crap lunches and more.
- Bess Tuggle

Dear Mr. Editor,

Your article concerning the problem of public meetings at the airport demonstrates what's wrong with our society. The Democrats found out the Republicans were using the airport for their monthly meeting for free. So, instead of saying, "Hey, that's a good idea. We'll see about having our meetings there, too." They spoiled it for everyone.

Now, the city must decide how much to charge an organization for a public meeting. I know from experience, it's hard to find a meeting venue in Covington at a decent price.

But, to add to the fact that now, all civic organizations will have to pay, the Democrats think they have to be compensated for some perceived wrong. The fee schedule was the same for everyone (there was no charge). They could have met there if they desired. There was nothing secret about it. Everyone in the world knew where the Republicans were meeting. But, they want to be compensated. For what?

The fee was nothing before. If they had met at the airport, there would have been no fee. Now, there will be a fee. That's equality. But, they don't want equality. They want to be considered a victim and be compensated. Thanks, Democrats, for screwing something else up.

Fred Wheeler


Alright, gang, that'll do it for this edition. Coming up in the next day or two:

Finally, another piece from Ellis Millsaps! And a feature write-up by MB McCart on local Renaissance man & poet, Mac Gay.

Thanks for reading!