Kerr Gettin' Those Sweet Hook-ups!
So last week we saw the Newton Co. BOC vote to approve a new contract for its County Manager, Mr. Lloyd Kerr. Mr. Kerr gets a substantial raise, with a "base" salary of $135,000 (incentives involved? sponsorship opportunities?) & also gets a county car! But if he doesn't want the county ride, he can get a monthly car allowance of $500 per month. Man, that's $6K a year!
Good work if you can get it, eh?
But seriously, folks, this speaks to a major point that this publication has written about many times - and that many others have spoken about many times - regarding the financial responsibility of all levels of government. The default response is always - "well, compare it to the private sector, it's...basically in line with that." Maybe, if we're comparing to the corporate private sector of the ATL, but what about private businesses here in Newton Co.? That should be the benchmark, and NO - it's not comparable.
But hell, it's just tax money, right?
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There exists, in this writer's mind, a level of discord & dissonance that we haven't seen in quite some time here at the city level, if not ever. It seems safe to say that there are two sides in which each side thinks they're completely right & the other group is not only wrong, but just totally full of crap & borderline evil. Sounds just like national politics...
I think it's a little more involved than that, though. I think you do have two fringes, but you also have a group that's neither fish nor fowl, to use the old idiom, that is somewhere in the middle. Of these "In Betweeners," I feel that you actually have a couple of subsets within, so these dynamics are not necessarily cut & dry, but, as if often the case, these more centrist, pragmatic voices tend to get lost in the shuffle with the louder volume of the two far sides. And let's give them names:
1. The Banshee-Screaming-Sky-is-Falling, "Oh, we miss the good ole days" crowd.
2. The Worship-at-the-Altar-of-OED, break-out-the-knee-pads-for-the-Developers, "We're gonna make Covington the next St. Simons or Highlands (& WE NEED MORE ROUNDABOUTS!) crowd.
I remain, proudly, unaffiliated with either.
But it's not just the general dynamics of the electorate, either, my friends, we are also seeing it with our governmental entities. Now, we have a fine Planning Commission here in the home city. We've got some intelligent, stand-up folks on it who know what they're talking about. But how many times the last several months have we seen them make a unanimous decision, only to see STAFF recommend against it & the City Council vote unanimously in the other direction. That's a problem...
And what the city needs to do, in my humble opinion, is to do what Porterdale has been doing - have the Planning Commission go through the entire zoning code of ordinances. And I'll take a step further - Covington should enact another moratorium, and take several months to do just that. Because, we've got MAJOR issues with our ordinances right now. The last time they hit the pause button, they really didn't get into the big stuff.
"But we've already done a moratorium," some would say. So what? We can do another one. There's case law out there that supports that as long as it "advances a legitimate governmental interest, is made in good faith & doesn't deprive the landowner of all reasonable use for too long."
Going back to 1926, courts have always upheld government's ability to have these regulations as long as they are fair & have met certain guidelines. And the main factor that a city can base any decisions made & changes to the ordinance is "current population growth & pressures within the community (including thoroughfare & infrastructure capabilities) and the amount of existing zoned use available & the amount of total undeveloped land available). "
I truly think it'd be a slam dunk. But...what do I know? I've only been a licensed real estate agent for a quarter of a century, got a BBA in Real Estate from UGA where we heavily covered all this stuff & I'm just a licensed Real Estate Instructor in Georgia, I should just probably stay in my lane...
Regardless, there were at least two council members who wanted to look at this, but none of the others would get on board because...take you pick: fear, ignorance, developers, OED...whatever.
Odds & Ends
- I've been getting some heat from some folks who are beyond ready for my piece on Wagner Service Solutions & the City of Covington. I already told you people, I'm doing this MY way. If you don't like it, do your own story. I WILL be publishing something just as soon as I'm ready & I've got all my ducks in a row. Thank You!
- I have decided to do something that I've long avoided doing. As some of you know, I've been doing some local advertising to help with this endeavor, but I think I need a bit more help, especially as it relates to Open Records Requests & other expenditures. I technically owe three governmental entities money at the moment for prior information requests. Your ole pal MB could use a helping hand, friends! Go to my secure PayPal account & help the cause if you get a chance. I sure would appreciate it!
Okay for now. Til next time.
- MB McCart