Madison County Opinion...

October 24, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 24, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Lack of growth means more taxes
A number of years ago, the leadership of Madison County made a dramatic decision. They decided to keep Madison County as a quiet, rural, agricultural county. To ensure that the county remained rural, they decided to prevent any kind of economic growth. They said, "No growth at any price."
Well, the bills are coming in. The price is high. We, the present taxpayers, will have to pay it!
Here are two examples of economic growth that was blocked by our past leaders:
Cannon Mills was originally to be built in Comer. City and county leaders put so many roadblocks in front of the plan that the company moved to rural North Carolina where they created a major manufacturing facility, and the city of Kannapolis. Once the plant was ready, management sent a message back to Madison County inviting anyone who wanted a job to come. Hundreds of our residents moved there and went to work.
I learned of this event shortly after starting the Journal when I noticed the large number of obituaries from Kannapolis listing Madison County relatives.
The second, even more startling decision involved the Federal Appalachian Commission. The federal government recognized the eastern mountains as the most poverty- stricken area in America. They set up a special economic development district to help this region. Madison County was included.
Among the projects for which we were eligible were federal grants and loans for construction of water and sewage. In their desire to keep Madison County rural, our leaders rejected the opportunity. "If we build it, those noisy, smelly manufacturing plants will follow," was their basic argument.
This opposition to economic development continues today. Earlier this week, our board of commissioners blocked the development of a cold storage plant in the Hull area. This plant would have contributed substantially to our property tax base and employment figures. But because a few people objected to the trucks and noise, it will not happen.
Meanwhile, the needs of our county continue to grow. New schools, more teachers, a new jail that has to be staffed, more recreational opportunities, road improvements all cost money. As always, the principal source of income for these needs is the county property tax.
And the vast majority of those taxes continue to be paid by farmers and homeowners.
Also this week, various county agencies are determining the level of property taxes necessary to finance county government. In most cases, these taxes are going up substantially. Often, the same people who are so vocal in preventing industrial growth are the ones who object to the tax increases.
Folks, we cannot have it both ways. If we are to have modern government services, someone has to pay for them. If we refuse to allow tax rich business development, those taxes will continue to fall on farmers and homeowners. If you are one of those who object to economic growth for Madison County, shut up and pay up. The rest of us are paying for your obstinacy.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address is frankg@mcga.net.

Send us a letter

Letter To the Editro

The Madison County Journal
October 24, 2001


Remember that the highway is a war zone
Dear Editor:
Little Cody Potts was five years old, started his first year to school in kindergarten and was very active in his cubbies with Awana at church.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, Cody asked his mother, Kathy Gable Potts, if they could go to the fair in Anderson SC.
Mama told Cody that she could not ride the rides and he could not ride by himself. Cody's dad died about a year and a half ago and everyone just sort of pitched in when they could. A friend of the family was there visiting that day, so he volunteered to go to the fair with them and ride with Cody.
So their evening was planned and they were off to the fair. Little did they know that they would not make it to the fair. They were involved in a tragic accident and were carried to Hart County Hospital. Cody had to be air lifted to Greenville Memorial and be treated for severe brain damage. He was put on life support. God had an angel behind them who called all and got help for them.
Cody stayed on life support from Saturday evening until Wednesday when he died. We all prayed for a miracle, but it wasn't meant to be.
The doctors told his mother from the beginning there was a slim chance for Cody to survive.
The doctors said he was a very healthy little boy with a strong heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.
Little Cody gave four children somewhere the United States, a chance to live. His mother says that she knows her little boy is still breathing and making some child happy.
I would like to say to everyone - will you please stop and think just for a minute before you get behind the wheel of a car. Please be careful and watch the road and please just think that someone's child, mother, dad, brother or sister is on the highway with you.
All the talk that we hear and all the news we read about and all the people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, no one can say that we know how these people feel who have lost their family members. Please remember the highway is a war zone and we have to watch everything that goes on to protect each other from tragic accidents.
Please pray for Cody's mother. We know Cody is with Jesus.
Sincerely,
Lois Howell
(Cody's great-aunt)
Hartwell

 


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