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To: Clayton City Council – We need leadership or some new leaders

To: Clayton City Council
From: Rabun County Coalition for Good Government
Re: “We need Leadership, or New Leaders”
September 18. 2018

The continued failure of current county and city officials to work together to resolve the high impact issues facing our community is outrageous. The issues facing Rabun County and its cities are not unique. They have been resolved in a timely fashion in the vast majority of the other counties in Georgia. We expect our elected officials to put aside past grievances and come together to work for the common good. We agree with the recent editorial in the CLAYTON TRIBUNE: “We need Leadership, or some new Leaders.”

There is no question that the county has treated Clayton unfairly in some areas – and the recent proposal for a new SPLOST circulayted by the county’s leadership indicates that it continues to rey to squeeze the city. We have openly confromted county officials on this matter and we will keep doing so until we believe they are acting in good failth to resolve outstanding issues rather than continue to bully Clayton into submission.

However, we are increasingly frustrated with the failure of Clayton officials to give serious consideration to consolidation of public water and sewer services in Rabun County. The water loss through the city’s aged infrastructure and the inability of Clayton to raise the capital to update and maintain it as well as prevent sewer leakage into our streams dictates movement toward consolidation of the city and county systems. The implications of the September 4, 2018 report by John Hewitt on sewer and water revenue combined with the city’s mounting debt and limited tax base are all too apparent.

We agree that the process of consolidation needs to spread out over several years. Nevertheless, we see no resason to postpone progress toward consolidation until the SDS is signed. Inded, the obvious need for an updated SDS provides both the city and the county with an excellent opportunity to come together and take a first step toward ending the “water and sewer wars.”  We do not pretend to know exactly what that first step should be, but acceptance of the principle of consolidation, assumption by the county of a portion of Clayton’s debt, and relinquishment by the city of some of its customers – especially those who have no representation in Clayton – strike us as reasonable starting points for negotiation.

We continue to hope that the committment to public service of our elected and appointed officials will lead very soon to a spirit of cooperation rather the current climate of distrust and animosity. It is a well known fact , however, that a change in direction often requires a change in personnel. If positive change does not occur soon, we will make every effort to mobilize our community to put new leaders in place.

– Carolee Williams for Republicans

– Bill Stueck for Democrats

– Sarah Gillespie for Mountain Progressives