Dear Editor: Lately, it has become apparent that some people in our county believe that success for Madison County will come in the form of more industry and the tax revenues those industries would generate.

Areas of our county are quietly being changed to facilitate this industrial growth. As of today the changes are, for the most part, in name only. Farm land, people’s homes, their property and beautiful rural agricultural areas of our county have a new name, “industrial corridor.” The expression, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” does not apply to these “industrial corridors.” An example of the type of industry attracted to an industrial corridor is the Georgia Renewable Power Biomass Plant (GRP) located in Colbert. From the moment GRP started up, it has destroyed the quality of life for those living near the facility. Light, water and air pollution and constant noise assault them 24 hours a day seven days a week. This is what an industrial corridor is about and this is what it will do to others if you don’t get involved and stop it from happening in our county. There are some who would disagree with this idea. They like to call GRP a success. To those people I have to ask, “Success at what cost?” For the people living near the GRP plant, this “success” has cost them everything.

Madison County leaders are in the early stages of developing a new comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is like a road map for future development in the county. Once completed, the plan will be used to make decisions about growth in the county. You as citizens of Madison County need to actively take part in this planning process. Contact your county commissioner and let them know that you are concerned about the future of our county. Tell them you understand the need for businesses and the tax revenues they generate that can help Madison County grow, but that growth, success, at any cost is not acceptable.

Your silence or lack of involvement in this planning process could leave you in an “industrial corridor,” a place where industrial growths success could cost you everything. Don’t let that happen to you.

Get involved, make that call now: Todd Higdon, County BOC Chairman, 706-795-2997; Dennis Adams, District 1, 706-202-8885; Terry Chandler, District 2, 706-338-6341; Brian Kirk, District 4, 706-540-8290; and Derek Doster, District 5, 706-521-2141.

Sincerely,

Drago Tesanovich

MCCPC Co-Chair

(1) comment

Virginia Moss

There's two parts to this issue. First, do we want an industrial district at all? Yes, it could bring in county revenues well above what's there now. Along the rail line and highway 72 would be an ideal area, especially since it's along the edge of the county away from the rest of the county which could remain pastoral without industrial pressures. That would leave the issue of other business and commercial interests to deal with there. If we don't want industry and want to continue paying higher property taxes than we would with an industrial corridor, then we need to accept that. It might be a small price to pay for our desired pastoral way of life.

Second, If we do want an industrial corridor, then those property owners ending up in a designated industrial area should be compensated for their loss of quality of life and economic equity during the transition period of about 20 years. Perhaps their annual property taxes should be significantly reduced or waived all together; or make GRP pay their property taxes by increasing GRP's taxes significantly. We simply can't wave our wand and cause harm to existing residents. Part of the reason for industrial zoning is to be able to control what goes in there, something we did not do regarding GRP. Instituting business licenses would also allow the county to have some control over businesses in our area.

Now is the critical time to decide what we want for here on out and what we are willing to pay or not pay to have what we want. Whatever the majority decides must not negatively impact the few who are affected. That's just plain wrong.

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