The Madison County Journal
October 24, 2001
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
And the vast majority of those taxes continue to be paid by farmers
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
The Madison County Journal
October 24, 2001
Remember that the
highway is a war zone
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
Cody stayed on life support from Saturday evening until Wednesday
when he died. We all prayed for a miracle, but it wasn't meant
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
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
Please pray for Cody's mother. We know Cody is with Jesus.