Banks County Opinions...

January 02, 2002


By: Angela Gary
he Banks County News
January 02, 2002

Headlines I would like to see in 2002
In the past, I have used this space at the beginning of each year to list goals I would like to see accomplished in the year. This year, I decided to make it a little more fun by listing headlines I would like to read (or write) this year in The Banks County News. These headlines will also serve as goals I would like to see accomplished in the county during the new year.
Homer Town Council holds ribbon-cutting at new town hall. I know this is a headline that the leaders of Homer would also like to see this year. They have been working for some time planning for the new building. It is time Homer had a nice town hall for meetings and other community events.
Baldwin stops meeting behind closed doors. I don’t know about the residents of this town, but I’m tired of the city council going behind closed doors to talk about town business. The Georgia Open Meetings Law does allow closed door meetings to be held, but that doesn’t mean a city council HAS to hold them. Why not meet in the open and air the city’s business before the public, instead of being so secretive.
Baldwin has also stretched the intent of the law a little too thin on some occasions. We firmly believe at least one recent meeting legally should not have been closed to the public, despite what the town attorney says. Meeting in private to discuss an intergovernmental agreement with another government body is not allowed under state law.
The Georgia Appellate Court opined in Claxton Enterprises vs. Evans County Board of Commissioners that the Open Meetings Act must be construed broadly, and any exception to the act, including those pertaining to closed meetings, must be narrowly construed.
The court also stated that a meeting can only be closed to discuss potential litigation if “the government entity can show a realistic and tangible threat of legal action against it or its officer or employee, a threat that goes beyond a mere suspicion of being sued.” Therefore, stating a meeting is being closed to discuss a “potential claim” against the city just isn’t good enough.
Hotel-motel tax goes to county instead of CVB. CVB abolished. Sure, the Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau was set up more than 12 years ago to promote tourism, but this is something that could be done on the county level. Other counties collect hotel-motel sales tax without a separate organization being formed to handle the money. If it takes state legislation to change how Banks County handles its hotel-motel sales tax, the county commissioners need to get moving on having it enacted. Just because the CVB has been getting this money for more than a decade, doesn’t mean it should keep getting it forever.
In a one-year period, approximately $100,000 in taxpayer money went into this organization, which is run by non-elected officials. This much taxpayer money should be accounted for by public, elected officials. It should also be noted that it is taxpayer money, despite what leaders of the CVB say.
The purpose of the CVB is to promote tourism in Banks County, but state reports show that tourism is down 22 percent in Banks County. If efforts of the CVB aren’t increasing tourism, it’s time to try something different.
No armed robberies reported at Banks Crossing. Every year, several armed robberies are reported at retail businesses and restaurants in the Banks Crossing area. It would be nice to go all year without any armed robberies.
Record number of voters go to the polls. In the elections held in Banks County in 2001, a pitiful number of voters went to the polls. Let’s hope voters become more active in the new year. In some countries, citizens aren’t allowed to vote and we should never take our freedoms for granted.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News.


The Banks County News
January 02, 2002

Want to get your name on this list?
Write us a letter
Everything from the terrorist attacks on the United States to the flag controversy in Banks County to columns by our staff members caught the attention of people who wrote letters to the editor this year.
The Banks County News editorial page featured 114 letters from our readers in 2001, compared to 95 in 2000. In 1999, The News received 66 letters to the editor.
Letter writing was once tan important form of communication for most people. Letters were handwritten, often several pages long and usually very eloquent and heart-felt.
Letter-writing has now become a dying form of communication. People seldom take the time to write a letter to friends and family. It is much easier to just call or send a quick email (which isn’t the same as a personal, handwritten note).
We welcome letters to the editor. They show the true character of our readers and add much to our publication. The opinions, lively debate and commentary truly represent what Banks County and its citizens are all about.
Those who wrote letters during the year are listed below. Some names are on the list more than once because they sent more than one letter to the editor.
Kelley Lawrence, Anita Bonds, Winford Popphan, Gary Mercer, Adele Kushner, Brad Sawyer, Denny Wagy, Roy Krusberg, Woody Coffee, Marvin Poe, Keith Murray, David Lary, Irby Edwards, Pat Peterson, Emma Summers, Commerce, Sam Moon, Heather Sheridan, Bud Dyer, Maysville, Anita Bonds, Hope Resource Center, Jean Thorne, Banks County Commissioners, Banks County Chamber of Commerce, Sherry Lewis, Mildred Grafton, Donald Dodge, Gerald L. Barnes, R. Howland, Emily B. Calhoun, Dan Gasaway, Homer, Martha Sims, David McKinney, June E. Thompson,
Becky and Barry Edington, Shannon Gasaway, David C. McKinney, Kathie Faulkner, Betty Jones Borders, Charles Dunn, Elaine Beck, Bill, Carole, Barth, Racheal and Griffin Jackson, Y. Faye Richie, Adele Kushner, Brad Hedbloom, Pat Crane, Tim Simmons, Estelle Simmons, Josh Bailey, Shane Howington, Ed Lindorme, Alicia Andrews and Winford Popphan.
Emily B. Calhoun, Lydia Lisa McClure, Amber Miller, Willie Belle Rucker, Mike Boyle, Jean Thorne, Donaldson Dodge, Lamar Wilbanks, Ernest Rogers, David McDonald, Sue Sears, Mike Ruth, Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, Deborah Newhouse, Shirlene Allen, Sherry Ward, Lola Daniel, Ashley Griffin, Jennifer D. Hart, Alicia M. Andrews and Debbie Roberts.
Arch Adams, Barbara Shubert, David Ensley, Alan Farmer, Mike Boyle, Douglas Duckett, David C. McKinney, Walter Justus, R. Proctor, Walter Justus, R. Proctor, Kay Caputi, Larry Brudge, Joe Roy, David McKinney, Barbara Segars, Louis E. Sokowoski, Matt Maxwell, Sheila Taylor, Gillsville, Robert D. Adamczyk, Larry Burdge, Flo Becker, Emily B. Calhoun, Stephen Pressley and Adele Kushner.
David C. McKinney, Banks County Senior Citizen’s Center, Etta Wood, Pauline Jones, the BCHS Auto Tech Club, H. Keith Segars, Roy and Ellie Herbert, H.A. Dyer, Lola Daniel, Deborah Lee, Carol Ayers, Emily B. Calhoun, Julie Gilliam, Maggie, Kenny and Howard Chang, Jack Taylor, Peggy Boggus and Clifford Schneider.

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The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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