January 3, 2014
The BOC is still working at reviving a dead horse. The next BOC meeting will start out with a worksession about none other than JCWSA again and JCWSA will be part of Old Business. The meeting will be Monday, January 6 at 5:30PM.
On 12/23/13, I sent the BOC members a copy of two letters to the editor written back in 2002 by the Chair (Merrill Clark) and Vice Chair (Roger Bell) of JCWSA assuring everyone that the taxpayers would not have to pay anything for the waterlines and JCWSA–this would all be paid with revenue from the system they assured us all, and TWG just needed to get its facts straight. (See email at end of this blog)
After receiving that email, Comm. Craig Salmon (District 4) wrote the following email to me, wanting me to answer questions about JCWSA. Please remember that Mr. Salmon served on the JCWSA for 3 years as Treasurer before he became a commissioner. He even wrote a “History of JCWSA” and had it sent out with water bills, conveniently leaving out pertinent information of course, such as the citizens voted the proposed authority down and they were in serious debt from poor decisions.
Answers to his questions are in red–
From: Craig Salmon [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2013 11:10 PM
To: Mary Patrick
Cc: Bruce Henry; Carl Pennamon; James Alexander; ‘Karen Degges’; Luke; Trammell; Craig Salmon
Subject: Re: Let’s get the facts straight
I have the following questions and would appreciate answers to each of them individually. Hopefully by you answering them, we all can gain some understanding of your point of view.
1. Why have you pushed hard against JCWSA since it was created? TWG stands for Taxpayer Watchdog Group. The goal of TWG is to let citizens of the county know what is going on in the county. TWG has been against taxpayer funding of JCWSA because 1. it was voted down by the citizens who didn’t want it in the first place, and 2. because JCWSA is supposed to survive on revenue from the system—not on taxes from the citizens. This is stated in their own House Bill.
2. Why do you want JCWSA to fail? The real question is why is it failing and why has it always been a failure? JCWSA was created by and for the special interests of a self-serving clique and therefore should have never become into existence after being voted down by the citizens of the county. It was created against the will of the people, and as a commissioner, Mr. Salmon, your duty is to the citizens of the county, not a select group whose original goal was land development.
3. What is the benefit of it failing? What is the benefit of putting it on the taxpayers and not making JCWSA live up to its own commitments?
4. In 2009, you said USDA would just give it to the a system which had lines adjacent to JCWSA. At the last meeting, you said to me to give it to the City of Monticello. You told Karen if it failed, it could be purchased for pennies on the dollar. Which is it and why do you keep changing? I merely made suggestions as to different avenues to look into for help for the system; however if you want to quote me, please do so correctly. As a JCWSA member and as a commissioner, your only solution has been to get the county taxpayer to foot the bill of JCWSA’s unserviceable debt. I have never heard any suggestions from you or your colleagues other than to sue the county and make them pay. Why? As representatives of the taxpayers of Jasper County, you and the BOC should be more concerned with sidestepping the debt associated with JCWSA rather than taxing the property owners for something they don’t want and 97% of them don’t use.
5. Why do you say it is a conflict for Gene and myself to vote on a water issue which we would not benefit monetarily from and was done prior to us being appointed to the JCWSA, and why was it not a conflict of interest for you to vote on anything dealing with water since one of the founding members of the taxdogs and officer was with a water authority that would probably benefit monetarily from a failure of JCWSA and who was involved with the other water authority prior to it JCWSA being formed? The issue here is should the county assume the debt of a failed water authority. Not one business owner nor any member of TWG has ever attempted to unburden themselves of their corporate debt by dumping it on the taxpayers of Jasper County, but here we have two former board members of JCWSA attempting to do just that. TWG has only repeated what Chairman (of JCWSA) Trammell said about being a conflict for you and he to vote on JCWSA issues when you became commissioners. Your recent vote shows your loyalties are with JCWSA, not with the citizens of Jasper County who you swore to represent.
6. What is your explanation of why the 2002 BOC minutes for some of critical meetings regarding JCWSA appear on brighter paper with slightly different font? What is your explanation for the missing tapes and the missing resolution in the minutes in 2002 concerning JCWSA?
7. Why do your articles usually reference comments made by the JCWSA prior to the resolution being signed? It’s called accurately reporting the news….something the citizens of this county need more of. Citizens were promised all along that JCWSA was going to cost them nothing, and last month we heard again that if we (the county taxpayers) just cough up another $54,000 on top of the $48,000 annually, JCWSA will be back on its feet. And oh, if this doesn’t work out (since it never has) the BOC should just sign a 50 year agreement to pay JCWSA anyway if they make wise decisions or not.
If you want to read other editorials by JCWSA after the resolution, including one in 2004 that says, “We don’t answer to the commissioners…” click here: http://www.taxdogs.com/JCWSA%20Quotes.pdf
8. When you reference JCWSA corrected minutes from the July 2002 meeting, what was the exact change that was made? Good question. We would all like to know the answer to this question. When you were on the JCWSA board why didn’t you check into that for us all?
9. Why would the BOC in the July 2002 meeting vote to put funding for the hydrants in the 2004 budget process, which it was done, to be paid in 2005 (which it was paid) which corresponds to the resolution wording if they did not discuss the resolution during the meeting? It does not correspond to resolution wording. The request was for $30,000 and that corresponds with the approved minutes and the newspaper report which stated this was for the amount JCWSA was short for the USDA to give them a loan. Why is the BOC so fervently adamant about funding a corporate entity which was created as a stand-alone authority? The people did not want the fund the creation of the water authority, so why go against the will of the people and dump the debt of a failed water authority on their backs?
10. Why would various individuals ( previous commissioners and other people involved with the process) who years after they had served, complete sworn affidavits saying the resolution happened? Another good question. It is possible that some people have no hesitation in committing perjury to promote their goals. By the way did they “swear” that the resolution happened or did the affidavit say that they thought that what it really meant was that the money would be paid annually and there would be “no subject to annual appropriation”? Those that signed these affidavits are the same people that have been involved with the questionable resolution and keeping the citizens from finding out if, when, and how it happened.
11. Why is the resolution mentioned in the bond which was advertised and held in an open bond hearing meeting in Jasper County not be enforceable by the USDA? Because the law as established by the State of Ga supercedes USDA authority. Also see the 10th Amendment. If the resolution was never legitimate how can it be enforced?
I am just trying to understand your viewpoint on some things. Based upon my review of the past, we have come to different conclusions. I am hoping maybe your insights can bring us all closer together on this issue.
TWG conclusions are based on fact–All the facts. The creation of the a county water authority was put to vote once–which unlike the BOC fire-hydrant resolution– has a paper trail to prove it; therefore, the issue should be already settled. To dump the debt of an corporate entity on the very people who previously declared they wanted no part of it would be an act of betrayal against the public trust with which you as a commissioner are endowed.
Mr. Salmon, This issue is not about you or TWG, but it is about what the people of Jasper County want. We clearly said via public referendum we did not want a county water authority, and anyone in possession of an iota of logic should be able to discern that this means we don’t want to assume their debt either. You can give us reasons of economic development, ISO ratings, and other things to try to justify what you want, but the people have spoken. Could it be any clearer? If not let people vote on it again and see what the people say now.
Thanks in advance and by the way, Merry Christmas.
From: Mary Patrick [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2013 7:08 PM
To: Bruce Henry; ‘Carl Pennamon’; James Alexander; ‘Karen Degges’; Luke; Salmon; Trammell
Subject: Let’s get the facts straight
Mary Patrick <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
A few more facts for you are attached. These were letters to the editor by the Chair and Vice Chair of JCWSA in 2002. That evil Watchdog Group was saying things like “the taxpayers are helping to pay for JCWSA” water lines and expenses. Read these letters and see for yourself what the JCWSA says– to relieve everyone’s minds, no taxpayer money is going to be spent to repay loans—“If the Watchdog Committee would like to know the TRUTH!” (Emphasis is mine.)
It also says that “The Jasper County government will not own the lines and will not be responsible for repaying any loans.”
These quotes are by those that worked with USDA, the banks, etc. to get the loans and they knew that the revenue from the system was to pay for the loans—in fact they insisted this was the case and anything else was just trying to mislead the public!!
I just want to be sure we all have the facts straight in this situation.