Tue, 01/17/2006 - 4:43pm
By: The Citizen

Why does Fayette Tax Commissioner Wingo tell us, on his Web site, that people have until June 1 to file for property tax exemptions at the very same time he advertises in the newspaper that we have only until March 1? Is it out of a warped desire to mislead the taxpayers into paying extra taxes, or just stupidity?

“Abuse of government powers” is exactly what Sheriff Johnson and Bruce Jordan are doing and the “drug money” which they think is their money is totally out of control. The latest stunt was the trading of three unmarked cars just because somebody wanted a brand new car. (Was that you, Bruce?) Your actions need to be accounted for and how you spend that so-called drug money. Looks to me like you guys are going to have to compensate Lincoln Mercury. Bottom line is we need a new sheriff and lieutenant colonel because things have gotten out of control here. I hope to see it happen soon.

Cannonball Run in Fayette County. Grab a county car or two, try to sell it without the county’s permission and watch the fun. Sheriff’s deputies running all over the county trying to find three cars (which somehow they miss). Excitement, danger. Running here and there, scanning the roads with one or two helicopters (who knows). Find those three innocent county employees, throw them in the cars (even though they have title to the cars), hang ‘em out to dry in the county jail and sweat the information out of them — they own the cars — they’re not doing anything wrong. Hoo, boy, what a mess. What is it with these sheriff’s deputies?

Sheriff Johnson says that cars bought by his office for undercover officers using drug money. I guess that since he bought them with drug money he is also paying for upkeep, gas, and insurance with drug money. He should pay for gas with drug money or at least have deputies pay for it with their own money. The other day I was behind [a deputy] at the Publix store on southside of Fayetteville and he was wearing blue jeans. He was purchasing personal items and when he left he got in his county car and drove off. I’m not just picking on him because I’ve seen county marked cars, Fayetteville’s marked cars and marshal’s vehicles parked at various locations with the motor running while they were inside buying personal items. I ran into a marshal coming out of Sports Authority with an aluminum bat. I asked him if he was going to use it on criminals and he said it was for his daughter playing softball. He got in the marshal’s truck and drove off.

The sheriff is out of control.

I am a parent of Peachtree City Elementary School students. I have been pleased with our experience there up until this year. Our school is crowded. Many classes are held in trailers. The trailers are not kept properly clean (additional custodial staff was denied due to budget cuts). These trailers are in a vulnerable location that is not fenced. (The music trailer was broken into this year and the electronic keyboard was stolen. When the staff asked for a replacement, they were told by the principal that the school could not afford that.) The necessity of trailers would be understandable if there were no other solution. However, there are two schools in close proximity to ours with empty classrooms and classrooms being used for luxuries like extra storage or PTO rooms. Our school is slated for even more trailers next fall. These trailers will be placed on our only blacktop play area. Why is the Fayette County Board of Education adding more trailers to one school and leaving classrooms empty in nearby schools? That does not make fiscal sense. The FCBOE proposed a plan that included a way to alleviate overcrowding at PCES. The plan was nixed when it was opposed by parents in other schools. Why was the whole plan put to rest instead of revised? It was supported by the PCES neighborhoods. Isn’t the FCBOE accountable to all of its students? Shouldn’t decisions be made on an individual basis? We already have the extra space in schools just up the street but we won’t be redistricted because of changes that are years away and buildings that are planned to help with overcrowding in other schools, not ours. While it is true the that FCBOE has offered an optional move for those of us who want to go, it comes with many strings attached and no busing. This creates a whole new stack of problems and still may not fix the original one. We are overcrowded. We are in trailers. There are beautiful, empty classrooms funded by tax dollars just up the road. Who is accountable? Where is the fiscal responsibility?

It is unbelievable that we can live in such a place like PTC in Fayette County where education is supposed to be among the best in Georgia. Now, to have the BOE totally ignore the needs of PTC Elementary. We are already crowded and have 10 trailers. Our kids start eating lunch at 10:30. Next year, when you add more kids and more trailers it will surely be a bigger mess. The answer according to the BOE? Do nothing to move some children to Kedron where there are empty classrooms. That would be using too much common sense and be an efficient use of our tax dollars. And voters beware: the BOE and Dr. DeCotis both refused to meet with us to even discuss it. Politics at work.

The headline for the Dec 12 Citizen should have read: “Parents win; students lose.” One elementary school is being transformed into a trailer park (Peachtree City) while another sits with empty classrooms (Kedron). Is this really the best use of our tax dollars assessed for education in Fayette County? Check your map; these schools are very close to one another. Perhaps we need to lower property taxes, since FCBOE has money to waste.

I have extensive experience with regards to the issue of out of district students attending Fayette County schools. As an administrative officer for 20 years in a public school system in another state, I dealt with these issues on a daily basis. Utility bills do not prove residence, as anyone can pay for someone else’s utilities. Tax bills do not prove residence, as anyone can own property and yet not reside there. Even rental or lease agreements cannot confirm residency as they can be presented and then the occupants move. Then, there is always the problem of children whose parents reside in different locations. Where does the child attend school if Dad lives within the district lines and Mom resides outside of the district? Do they get to choose, or should the attendance be where the child resides for the preponderance of the time? Purchase and sale agreements, notarized statements, drivers licenses, none of these items, as well as those above will guarantee you that the student legally resides within the district. Those who are determined to commit the crime of “theft of services” (as mentioned by a prior entry in Free Speech) will do so no matter what it takes. Short of sitting a 24-hour stakeout at the residence of a suspected “illegal” student, there will never be a concrete way to prove where the student is actually living. The most you can hope to do is make the requirements for proof of residency as difficult as possible and hope to deter some of the cheats.

Dixie Wilson’s editorial letter was right on target. She needs to run for a school board position. I bet she would get 95 percent of Fayette County teachers and their families vote.

Interesting that the new Peachtree City Council would once again walk down the road of having the average citizen pay for the Tennis Center again. Who cares if the Tennis Center has been self-supporting for the past two years? I guess accountability and financial stability aren’t as important to these members. I agree with Cindy: leave it alone, it’s already been fixed. I’m waiting for the tax relief they promised us during the election. Where are the budget cuts and slicing they promised me? Surely they have a plan? I suppose the bank lawsuit will be the next item they will try to pay. My guess is that they will erode the financial stability created these past four years and use the city’s fund balance to make it all happen instead of making hard decisions. I hope I’m wrong.

I really hate to see the first things to come out of the new PTC administration being a new tax for waste water (yes, it is a tax), getting town officials away from the Tourism Board to prevent “tainting,” and putting a liquor store within whispering distance of private homes, zoning or no zoning.

Too bad, Lexington Park residents. Sometimes your City Council has to do the right thing and make hard decisions. Good luck with getting a developer to do any landscaping or site improvements after a unanimous vote.

It was wonderful to see Betsy Tyler’s first-person article on “Stormwater 101.” Could it be that after four years the Peachtree City employees have been released from their chains and will be permitted to do their jobs?

I am in favor of hiring a county psychologist if it will keep Commissioner Pfeifer from writing letters to the newspaper. The poor distressed hypocrite condemns people for writing letters in the paper but it’s somehow all right to have his mindless babble taking up space. What a joke for him to talk about his “oath” and his perceived spectacular service. Within the last couple of months, we can attribute the following to our wonderful elected officials: 1. County Chairman Dunn votes in favor of an ARC regional mass transit package (welcome MARTA buses and goodbye Fayette tax dollars); 2. the Board of Education totally loses its spine and essentially allows some parents to create their own districts; 3. the new Peachtree City mayor receives $1,000 from the developer wanting to build a mini-city on other side of Fayette County line and $2,000 from Coweta’s state senator (wonder why?). Give us all a break.

When will the Fayette County Board of Commissioners explain to the citizens why the County Attorney was paid over $500,000 last year? And when will they stop suing the cities? Aren’t Greg Dunn and Linda Wells up for election this year? Seems like a good time to change some things.

I read an article today in a business magazine concerned the opening of a Sun City senior development near Charlotte, N.C. It was similar to the one projected to be built here in Fayette County. It was an over-55 development with no children under the age of 19. It featured a beautiful golf course, a small lake, and beautiful homes with beautiful grounds. I am trying to figure out why our county commissioners thought this project would be bad for Fayette County. It would not impact our schools, it would bring more revenue to our tax department, more jobs for our citizens, and add a nice look to the landscape. I just don’t get the downside of this project. Is it because Rolader or Stinchcomb were not names associated with the Sun City project? Seems like they get what they want around here without concern of what their development is doing to our schools or our community life. Makes you wonder who is in the pockets of the county commissioners. I urge you all to think about this when the next election rolls around.

How difficult is it for the Fayette County government to get their Web sites working and updated, especially the tax assessor’s office? That information is a matter of public record and should be accessible. With the amount of taxes that we pay to the county, they should be able to hire some competent IT staff.

Hey, Delta fly boy, aren’t you being one of those “anonymous chickens” as well with your 64-line diatribe (yeah, I counted them), or has your ego been reduced to mere ignorant, mean-spirited, moronic idiots like the rest of us?

Well, it looks as if the Grace and Gloria show is off and running in Tyrone. They both cast dissenting votes in their very first meeting for appointment of new Planning Commission members. It will be interesting to see if they vote for what’s good in Tyrone or just vote against everything because they can. What will be more interesting is if political newcomer Gloria Furr will vote her own conscience rather than in lockstep with Ms. Caldwell.

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Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:53am.

Regarding the Sun City development, those people are going to Spalding County and calling it Sun City Peachtree or something like that. Of course Sun City Hilton Head is 30 miles off Hilton Head Island, so I guess they like to be loose with their geography. I have been told that they will be back to Fayette County after the makeup of the County Commission changes later this year. At least one candidate (unnanounced) will be going after Wells seat on this issue specifically - and he or she will have significant support from the seniors.

Why they rudely dismissed the Sun City people is a mystery. Maybe it will come out in the election campaign.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Mon, 01/23/2006 - 7:54pm.

The reason Greg and Linda punted the Sun City overture was pure and simple deductive reasoning. The people that like to buy into a Sun City type community are fine with small lots - possibly as small as 1/6 of an acre. They will come from somewhere else and don't vote here yet.

Those that do vote have a different agenda; which is - "Keep out anyone with different ideas than mine" Can you all read between the lines?

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