Yes, journalism is important still

In spite of efforts by the mainstream media to totally ignore some things which need reporting and beat to death some things which don’t deserve so much attention, journalism still matters. Especially at a weekly community newspaper.
You may not want to know about the latest ribbon cutting or who made honor roll at the school, but there are some people who want to know these things. Both items are accomplishments and something which deserve recognition. Perhaps the business owner having the ribbon cutting, is fulfilling a lifelong dream. The child on the honor roll may not ever have their name in the paper again, but they did at least once.
Community newspapers are writing the history of the community. When covering a boring meeting that goes on forever and nothing seems to get accomplished, I remind myself of that fact. The very fact that meeting was held is part of the community’s history.
When people come into the office to research information and sometimes find very little, I remind myself we need to make sure those things are included so there will be some kind of record.
Community newspapers and the journalism with it are important. The people in the community are important and that’s why the newspaper matters.
In this week’s edition are the constitutional amendments which will be on the November ballot. Grab a copy and read them so you will know what you are voting on when you step up to cast your ballot.
Not everything we report is fun or easy or positive. Sometimes things are said in meetings or done which the public needs to know that are not in a positive light. Even local officials sometimes say the wrong thing. When we report it, they may be embarrassed or wished they hadn’t said it. You can bet they will think about what they say a little more next time.
In the era of social media and fake news, local journalism takes on an even greater importance. It’s important we get the facts right; it’s important we are covering meetings and it’s important we bring an injustice to light when a governing agency doesn’t want to be forthcoming.
Stories are sometimes heart-wrenching and it becomes hard to remove ourselves from it but we do it the best we can. But those stories must be covered. It’s important they are reported.
We ask questions and sometimes don’t get answers or get told, no one cares about the answer. When we request information and get treated as if we have just asked for something too personal, we have to wonder why the response was like that. As the Fourth Estate, we are watchdogs for the community. I have always told my reporters to follow the money. The money belongs to the taxpayer and we have to make sure it is being spent properly.
If left unchecked, government gets out of control. When we get a tip about malfeasance, we owe it to the community to check it out and report it. If it turns out there’s nothing there, then that’s even better. We aren’t waiting for the other shoe to drop and get the goods on somebody. It’s just part of the job to investigate allegations.
A free press – newspapers as part of that — serve as a check on the power of government. Our newspaper is not part of the fake news society. I’ve said it before, we don’t have time to fabricate news because we are too busy covering real stories in our community.
I take the job seriously as being the eyes, ears and yes, the voice of the people. Myself and my employees are your friends and neighbors and some of you may even be related to one of us. We are dedicated to do the best we can do in providing you news on the community.
That job has gotten harder as some people think posting something to social media is enough. It’s not. Not everyone stares at social media every day all day long. You can’t clip social media and put it on your fridge, or put it in a scrapbook.
our editorial page is a code of ethics for journalists. It doesn’t have to be on that page or anywhere else in the newspaper, but it’s important for us to remind ourselves we are accountable and we need to minimize any harm from our reporting.
We are not part of the mainstream media, yet we feel as if we are under attack as well. I can understand the president feeling as if they are his enemy, but here at the Georgia Post, we are not anyone’s enemy. We get taken for granted in the communities and though we don’t do it for the money or for the recognition, there are sometimes when everyone else in the room is recognized and we are left out, we wonder what we did wrong.
We want to be a part of what’s right in the community and shedding light on the positive, though we have to report the negative as well. When I first went into journalism, I wanted to make a difference. That is still in the back of my mind, though perhaps not as strong as it was back then because of being beaten down through the years but people who didn’t get a newspaper’s purpose.
We depend on advertising and subscriptions to keep going and our costs rise just like everyone else and we have to cover those costs. We are a small local business that contributes to the local economy. It’s National Newspaper Week so be a little kinder to your local journalist. Thank you.

VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lumped all into one

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse or crazier, they somehow seem to do just that, especially with our politicians and elected officials.
With the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland where five journalists were killed, many journalists are questioning themselves as well as the current state of affairs in our country. I’ve even had journalists I know express a certain level of fear.
Such fear you could expect in an authoritarian country or if you happen to be covering a war zone. It’s not the first time journalists have been attacked though, but perhaps the first time on American soil. This shooting moves the United States into the spot of third-most dangerous country for journalists. The top two are Syria and Afghanistan. These stats come from the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists.
Of course, the left and some mainstream media outlets want to cast the blame on President Donald Trump for his media bashing. Personally, I have issues with mainstream media as well and have done the research and determined, most of those outlets are biased and do not totally report the whole truth or both sides for that matter.
Unfortunately, all media gets lumped into the same category and that is what galls me the most. We may write and report the news but us community journalists are not the same as mainstream media. We cover our local communities. But getting lumped in with the rest of the media, makes us targets as well, even among those who know us. People tend to fall into what is going on with the rest of the population when it comes to complaints.
My experience in a town where the police chief threatened me with a gun, made me realize a long time ago, this job could get you into hot water with people in power if they don’t agree with you. It’s not for the faint of heart and it’s certainly not for those who do not believe in what we do in our communities.
This particular shooting has made me more concerned with my staff’s safety. We discussed our escape routes should something happen here. Two of us do carry but don’t bring the guns into the office. A lot of good it would do us out in the car, so we are re-thinking what we need to do.
In another community, the newspaper office was next door to the police department. It did not matter, as one of the reporters was able to get in and out of a window at the office without even as much as a peep from the police department on more than one occasion. We were also next to the fire department and a wisp of smoke brought the fire department to our door. It did give you some sense of safety.
In this case, the shooter had a long feud with the newspaper even before the Trump administration entered the picture. We should not associate this shooting with Trump. He did not pull the trigger, nor would he advocate such action.
It is society that is the problem. A society which spits out hate like it is a good tasting dessert. It is a poisonous venom which spreads like wildfire and taken up by people who you are surprised would even be that way. It is a condition of the heart; a heart that has turned stone cold.
We as journalists, but as people too, cannot live in fear or worry that something we report will stir up an irate person to want to attack us. Letting that fear control us, would defeat the purpose of having a fourth estate.
It does sadden me that a profession I chose and love, has not only been hit hard financially in the last few years but now faces safety threats which could impact how we do our jobs.
If we can’t do our job which is informing the community, then citizens will not know why their taxes are going up, about the good things happening in the school system, or who is running in the local elections. Not everyone has or cares about social media and does not get their news that way. Many depend on the local media to keep them up to date.
A professor of mine from way back when, said the profession was kind of like the first responders in that we attend meetings before the public knows what’s going on and even arrive on different scenes before the public. I never really thought much about that because first responders are heroes in my book, but perhaps he was on to something, though I don’t consider myself a hero or in the same category.
The attack on media from different fronts including financially, has felt kind of like a war zone in previous years. Some days I do question why I ever became a journalist; other days I cannot imagine doing anything else.
As you say your prayers, remember us community journalists as we go about providing you with local news to the best of our ability.
It seems like the past few weeks, there has been nothing but strife to report from communities. I liken it to drama and it’s something we really don’t like, but something because of citizens’ right to know, we have to cover. It can’t always be good or happy news. Life isn’t like that anyway. We must take the good with the bad and must report it as well.
Thank you to our loyal readers and supports. Your support does make a difference in our lives and our ability to keep you informed. Blessings.©2018

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections of freedom

July 4th gives us a time to reflect on our freedoms. They certainly aren’t what they used to be and we seen them eroding away on an almost daily basis.
Our country today is certainly not what our forefathers envisioned. In fact, I believe they would be horrified and feel total shame at what we’ve become. That’s not to say that America isn’t still the greatest country in the world, because it is and we  should have pride in it.
While we think we are still free, in many ways we truly are, but in other ways not so much.
Freedom, I realize, means different things to different people and that meaning seems to have changed over the history of our country.
It has changed as people have lost site of what our founding fathers set out to do. Most people don’t even know what kind of country America is and would say we are a democracy. Truth is, we are a constitutional republic. Our Constitution is a thing of beauty which stands the test of time, no matter what politicians may say.
The Puritans came to America to find freedom to practice their faith. They wanted independence from British rule because they were having to pay taxes but had no say in how the taxes were used.
In spite of what some say, “In God We Trust” has been a constant throughout our history. But how people view God has also changed.
Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” I agree with him wholeheartedly and think our history is based on the development of peoples’ relationship to God. That relationship in today’s society is a far cry from what it was when our country was founded.
If you think about all that is happening, such godlessness in the world, we see things deteriorating. When God is prevalent in our country, we prosper; it is the same with our lives.
There are many today, though they do not always call it by the name, who want socialism in our country. I daresay had someone else been elected president, we would be well on our way down that road. Should America move toward a more socialist government, the whole world economy would be hurt. It would damage the system that has created the most prosperous and freest nation ever. It would also take away our basic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We would also become less equal in that we wouldn’t all have the ability to be the best that we can be like we have now. Equality gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, not that each of us would be given all the exact same things. It’s up to each of us in what we achieve and how we succeed, but socialism takes that away.
The incentives we have in our country to be as successful as possible and create something people want and need, makes people successful and creates wealth. The Puritans discovered this first hand after a period of doing things differently for a period of time.
The Mayflower compact was the first real government document in America, written by people of the Mayflower. When arriving here they set up a system of government which could be compared to a commune. Everyone got a piece of land and they all would farm their land, raise livestock, provide other items and put it all into a communal store. Everyone would then split up what the community had evenly. This system only lasted two years for obvious reasons.
If a family grew 100 bushels of grain and another only grew half that much, they would each get 75. This meant there was no incentive to do any better. So, seeing the system for what it was, they did away with it and allowed people to grow whatever they could and produce what they could. They would then trade for what they needed.
The Colonists began to produce much, much more because they could trade for extra things they needed or wanted by being better and growing more. This was the beginning of capitalism.
If someone was having a hard time, everyone would help them if they needed something or just needed help. It worked and so it continued. It still works today though there are those who would take from the wealthy or the most prosperous and give to those who did not work for it and did not even try. That is not freedom.
Freedom is working hard and if you are able and choose to, you help the less fortunate. That’s something we’ve gotten away from and it’s a shame.
Reagan also said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. That’s very true and I wonder how many more years we will be able to enjoy some of our freedoms.
The government already tried to force us to buy health insurance and penalized you if you didn’t; that is not freedom. Controlling the health care system meant they could control many aspects of our lives, including whether we got treatment, etc. Thank goodness that is changing. However, it’s the whole insurance system that needs an overhaul, not just health care itself.
People today take the freedom of speech too far. You see with freedom comes responsibility and people don’t get that at all. We have the freedom to keep our mouth shuts when opening it will not serve the greater good or will cause further strife.
We lose freedom when we don’t think for ourselves. We are not free when we take whatever is said as a grain of truth instead of finding out the truth. In doing this, we become like sheep, certainly not free. That’s what happens when we accept fake news as truth.
Our government double taxes us without our say so and we have no control over it. Certainly not what our forefathers intended. They tax everything and raise it when they can’t meet their budgets.
Being addicted to drugs, alcohol, social media or our cell phones, is not freedom. Far from it. And if you don’t think you are being tracked, I feel sorry for you. Our cars know where we are, as do our phones and computers.
We must hold on to our freedoms and embrace what the founding fathers intended. They knew what they were talking about and it still holds up under close scrutiny today. Reflect on your freedoms this Fourth of July and remember what made our country so great in the first place. Freedom is not free and our men and women in the military have fought and some paid with their lives for it. Happy and Safe Fourth!!

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recognizing our dads

Your whole life changes once you no longer have your Father. No matter how long it’s been since he went to his heavenly home, there are days when it is almost unbearable and oh what you would give just to see him or talk to him, one more time.

Many times my father had to be both mother and father. That’s just the way it was and I’m not resentful about that fact. My mother is still living and I love her very much as I do my stepmother.

The days when melancholia sets in do seem to get a little less as time goes on but that whole in your heart never leaves. There are days for me when it is so prevalent, I cannot even talk about it because all I want to do is cry. But then there are those days when the memories and things that daddy taught me give me so much joy, I just want to jump up and down and spread that joy around.

We are the compilation of our parents; in my case, I seem to have taken more from daddy. We both hated injustice and always had compassion for those in need. We had disagreements, especially about politics, but it became a fun thing for us. It stretched me as a person because it made me at least consider other points of view.

There are so many wonderful memories; certainly way too many to embellish here in this space.

Daddy loved the land, fishing, boxers and bird-dogs. I love the land — gardening, the smell of grass after a rain and after it’s been mowed. I love to fish, not as much as daddy did and I love boxers; have one right now. Never had bird-dogs as I don’t hunt.

He was a mediator, arbitrator, not only in his career but in life with people. I don’t have the knack that he did, but I do try and I want everyone to see both sides and get along.

Instead of spanking, Daddy would lecture us for hours on ends. Giving us all the high and low points of whatever we had done, the consequences and that life was about the choices we made. He didn’t want me, his only daughter, having to depend on a man and helped me with my education after high school to ensure I could support myself. He taught me a lot of things many girls probably didn’t know. He explained car and plane engines and how to properly use hammers and other tools. He was always doodling songs and he loved music. That’s something I definitely inherited and since I was always doodling, he gave me the nickname “Doodles”. I don’t doodle so much anymore but I still love to write.

Daddy was a workaholic, which is something many these days know nothing about. I took that trait after him as well, but over the years have realized, there is a reason you need to take a vacation and just rest. Took me over 30 years to truly understand that though. Daddy never did, I don’t think. We should work as if the work we are doing is for the Lord, because in reality, it is.

As you celebrate Father’s Day Sunday, whether your dad is living or not, remember those special times, the wonderful things about your Father. If yours is living, call, go see them and make another memory. Life is way too short and people are taken from us much sooner than we realize. We should celebrate, fathers, mothers and everyone else every day, not just on a special day set aside for them. If you know someone who recently lost their Father, be sure and give them extra encouragement. That first year without your Dad, is especially hard.

May your Father’s Day be blessed. ©2018

Victoria Simmons, author, publisher, minister, public speaker. Email her at vsimmons54@gmail.com

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A little transparency goes a long way

Gone are the days when I could walk into any official or department head’s office, sit down and ask whatever questions I needed to ask and get answers with no ifs, ands or buts. I’ve always been trusted to be fair and have had city and county officials tell me they didn’t really trust anyone else but me. When I made mistakes I owned up to them and did the best to rectify them.
Enter the age of media bashing and it doesn’t matter how long someone has known you, now all they want to do is complain and not get the truth of the matter to the public. It was called transparency back then and until recently I didn’t realize I should have appreciated those days a lot more.
I have a job to do and despite popular opinion, I do not like all the negativity and I hate it when something has to be exposed. But the public has a right to know how their tax monies are being spent and when people are misusing their power and the money entrusted to them by the people.
You would not believe some of the things we are told by people. Used to be even officials would tell us things, but that too has gone by the wayside. Not because we ever abused it, or published something we were asked not to, but it’s just the way of the world these days.
Now days, if you want to know something, you have to send an official open records request and you had better be specific for heaven forbid they should give you the whole story unless you ask for it. When responding they also quote you back the open records law number which applies to your request.
What is really funny to me is that many of the entities think they are protecting their community’s reputation by not letting anything negative get published unless it’s discovered by a newspaper. Nothing could be further from the truth and if you ask the average citizen, you will get an earful about what they do think about the city or county government.
I have always said it was always better for an entity to be transparent and put the truth out there. People will always forgive you if you are truthful, but when you try to hide something and then it is discovered, they never forget it.
People tend to forget that this is our job, but that we are also people as well. Journalists many people think, seem to have a lot of friends. It may seem that way on the surface but that’s not the truth. There are some “friends” who call themselves that because they want to be on the inside in case their name or someone kin to them is  going to have their name end up in the police report. Or they want you to tell them things so they can go out and spread it as if that makes them important.
We have a rule in my office, anything said inside here is confidential and we do not talk to anyone about it before a news story comes out. Sometimes a story can’t be written because we can’t get to the bottom of it, or we can’t prove any allegations that were made and the information dies with the story. Also, someone’s personal life is none of our business and we do not write stories about who is sleeping with who even if they are city officials or department heads, even if there are pictures to prove it. If they get caught for prostitution, trafficking or pornography, now that is a completely different story.
If I were younger and just starting out as a journalist, I think I would seek another career. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and enjoy it most days. It has just become a lot harder to get the information you need for stories and many public officials are a lot harder to work with than it used to be. Sounds crazy in this day of social media and technology the way it is, but it’s the truth. That’s because officials do not want you to have the information. Transparency to some, is just a word they never use.
I have to say that Peach County government and Crawford County is awesome in that regard. We always get what we need and everyone is forthcoming. So is Roberta, but as you know that has not always been the case. Wish that was the case with them all, but sadly it’s not. Guess that’s not too bad considering we cover about eight different government meetings a month, sometimes more.
One person on a city council, even told another council person, not to talk with the newspaper people unless they discussed it with council. Really? Let’s just say that definitely throws up a red flag for me and I truly question the credibility of such a person. Council people are elected by the people and therefore have a right to talk to us if we question them. I have been told this council person also gets grief every time something comes out because they are sure they are in cahoots with us and that we see each other all the time to share information.
How hilarious that is to me and it’s certainly not the truth. Most things we know about come from the public who overheard it from an employee inside the entity, which makes that even more ironic to me.
When elected officials and employees are more concerned about protecting an entity’s image than truth and illegal actions, that itself is a problem. It is also a problem when they don’t give enough respect to those who serve on the same board or council with them.
Unfortunately, that’s the way the world rolls these days. Doesn’t mean it’s the right way though.©2018
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community loses champion

The people’s representative. That’s what I always thought about Robert Ray when he served as a state representative. He cared about the people and he tried to do all that he could for his district. I would call him a champion for the community.
I met him of course, through my affiliation with a newspaper. He would frequently bring us peaches and pecans just to let us know he appreciated us. That’s what he always said when dropping that season’s offering at the office. I liked him the first time I ever met him as he was very warm and friendly; of course the peaches didn’t hurt either! As I got to know him a little better, I found him to be genuine, the real thing. So rare these days.
He was probably the first Democrat I ever voted for in an election. He was a good man who will be missed by not only family and friends but the entire communities he ever served.
When he left office, he had already convinced his replacement, the late Tony Sellier to run and that too was definitely the right choice. In a serious discussion once, though he told me the real reason he had decided to get out of politics.
For one, it had become too political. It was not easy to get anything done for the district without giving up pieces of your soul and having to make concessions here and there. That takes its toll on an honest and good man. When it got to the point, he just didn’t want to deal with all of that political insanity anymore, he decided it was time to get back to doing more farming.
I appreciated his candor and totally understood. It’s something I definitely would have a hard time with as well. Political games are not my thing. I admired him for that stance as well. It had gotten to the point you had to give up five or six things to others to even get one and it was just not worth it anymore.
A testimony to how much he was loved was the number of people in attendance at visitation and the funeral. I had the notion of getting there early and apparently everyone else did as well. Sadly, you see a lot of people that you only see at funerals. Joe Collins and I talked about this at the visitation but could not come up with a solution as to not let that be case. We are all so busy.
The accolades awarded to Robert are way too many to list but last year he was presented with the Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
He and his wife, Jennifer, still lived on the farm he grew up on. Robert continued to farm that land. He was just 12 years old when his dad gave him two acres of land and helped him plant and take care of it. It taught him responsibility for the crops. He served on many boards including being president of the Crawford County Farm Bureau at the age of 19.
His first dive into politics was getting elected as a county commissioner at the age of 22. He served for eight years and went on to be elected to the school board for two terms and finally the Georgia House of Representatives where he served for 24 years. He served Crawford but also parts of Peach, Monroe, Upson, Bibb and Lamar counties. That first time he ran, he said he knocked on every door in the county.
During those 24 years, he did a lot of good including building a high school, the community college, getting grants for Roberta to address water issues, and as he once said, “paved a lot of roads”. He was also successful in getting the phone companies to eliminate long distance fees within counties. He championed the farmers and fought for their interests.
He loved Crawford County and even though he had stepped down as a representative, continued to do what he could for the communities he served as well as the people he knew. When things got accomplished here, Robert always said he felt good.
At the visitation, there were some of his sayings posted on the screen, along with photos. It was a beautiful tribute. I especially agree with the one that chocolate goes with everything.
Of his farming, he said he felt a little bit like he was always on vacation. Because peaches are so labor intensive, he mostly farmed pecans on the close to 3500 acres he owned. He was a fourth generation farmer.
One story I remember him telling was the decision he had in whether to buy a car or a tractor at the age of 16. He had saved $1500 for the purchase. $1200 short for the tractor, he asked the bank to loan him the money so he could buy the tractor. He never looked back and always said that was the better purchase.
Robert, just genuinely loved people and though he has entered his heavenly home, the home he left on earth will seem more vacant without his warm smile and enthusiasm. People like Robert leave their footprints in the communities where they live and serve and he certainly did that.
Please remember Jennifer and the rest of the family in these days ahead and offer up prayers for them. It is an especially tough road you tread after the loss of a spouse and father.©2018

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sales taxes vs. property taxes

There is so much misinformation going around about T-SPLOST and E-SPLOST. Some of it is almost laughable, if it weren’t such a serious subject.
People these days just spout off about everything without knowing the facts. Then someone else jumps on the bandwagon because they think that person knows the scoop. Geeze! It’s a never-ending saga.
I’m proud of myself that I’ve pretty much learned not to respond to anyone about anything, no matter how ridiculous what was stated really is. It’s not worth the ensuing drama and some people really just don’t want to hear the truth. That’s okay with me, let them stay in their own lane and I’ll stay in mine.
Turn out for the meet and greet for candidates and information on E-SPLOST and T-SPLOST was low. Nothing unusual since it’s a primary and people don’t pay as much attention to it as they should.
I early voted last week. While standing outside talking to Kristi, a lady came up and wanted to know what they were voting on! We explained to her. She did not know there was an election for Governor, etc. this year. Then a man came up and wanted to know the same thing. Okay, people why aren’t you staying informed?
I do kind of understand. Maybe they don’t want to watch the news, any news, but you have to keep yourself informed. If those people had a subscription to our newspaper, they would have been informed if they read it. We have had information on the election, even early voting and the E-SPLOST and T-SPLOST. Not biased information, just the facts.
I have studied both E-SPLOST and T-SPLOST, even though I can’t vote on E-SPLOST in Crawford County. In listening to Supt. Brent Lowe and talking with others, I would vote for it if I could. It is only a continuation and Crawford County needs a new high school.

I followed T-SPLOST since 2010 and through the passage in some districts and not in central Georgia. That first year, I was not as well informed and quite frankly I didn’t vote for it. Wasn’t sure it was such a good thing and felt it would only benefit DOT. This year, at first, I was totally against it, but then did the research and talked with and listened to people in the know who were passionate about the outcome and got facts from people who were neither for or against.
Now that I’ve researched it and have more facts and have looked into how those districts which did pass it, have fared, I believe it to be a good thing. No one likes a new tax. But a sales tax is a way for everyone who buys anything in the county to help pay for things in the county. Sales taxes come back to the county where they are generated.
The benefits for Crawford County far outweigh any thoughts of paying an extra one cent. Roads take up about 99% of the commissioners’ time. Everyone wants their road taken care of and the T-SPLOST will help, not only with keeping roads in great shape, but can also be used for equipment and other things involved with transportation. For me, it’s a win-win.
Someone even commented that we don’t have a T-SPLOST and roads are getting paved so why do we need it. Roads may slowly be getting repaired but compared to the roads which need repairing, it’s a very small dent in a very long list. Talk to your commissioner if you need more information. Or get out and ride up and down every single road and see the problems with them. Plus, as I said the county can buy needed road equipment; anything transportation related.
Or, perhaps you’d rather that your property taxes go up even more. Counties can use the T-SPLOST monies for roads and will have to use less of its budget on roads. It will save them money and does not change funds already coming in from Georgia DOT.
Crawford County will get $8.1 million and Roberta $237,000 over the 10 years of T-SPLOST to use locally. Plus they will get $10.6 million from DOT. This comes from a formula of population and road mileage from total collected from all counties. Do the research. Crawford County would not receive that much money from sales tax on its own in 100 years. Do your research, ask questions and then decide which way to vote.
As far as E-SPLOST in Crawford County, some parents don’t want it because it puts middle schoolers on the same campus area with high schoolers. If you have more than one child at home, with one in a lower grade and one in high school, do you keep them separated all the time? I don’t think so. Plus, unless things have changed, they ride the bus together.
School officials have said they will not be together and will be segregated and it will be heavily monitored.
Remember that E-SPLOST is not an additional tax, it is just a continuation. It’s an investment in your county for education.
Just from what I have seen, something needs to be done at Eagles Nest and the high school. Extending E-SPLOST would allow for that. Yes, you would pay an additional amount of property taxes to finish the proposed plan but once completed the increased property tax goes away.
You can look it at as more taxes, or as an investment in your community for education. It’s a way for local systems to raise money without having to raise property taxes sky high and since you’re already paying it, you won’t notice any difference when you purchase something.
If you want to know more, check out YouTube and our interview with Brent Lowe from March 12. Also the school system has information on its website. Do the research and use your head when making a decision. I don’t like more taxes either but support these two this year. Next time it might be a different story, depending on what the taxes entail.

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment