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To: Rabun County Commissioners – We need leadership or some new leaders

To: Rabun County Commissioners
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 us 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.”

The three unresolved issues before us are (1) SDS, (2) SPLOST, and (3) consolidation of public water and sewer services. The only way to resolve them is for public officials of both the cities in the county and the county to come together and negotiate compromises. The county’s strategy to seek the capitulation of the City of Clayton by driving it to bankruptcy is a recipe for continued stalemate and wasteful spending that can only lead to higher taxes for everyone.

Out recommendations to the county commission to move forward on the three issues before us are outlined below. We believe that the citizens of Rabun County deserve clear and honest explanations for any of the recommendations the commission does not adopt.

SDS

Our information is that the City of Clayton has accepted the recommended alternative mediator to proceed with SDS negotiations. We expect the county to follow suit. Without the resolution of SDS, it is incomprehensible that the voters of Rabun County would endorse a new SPLOST.

SPLOST

We request that SPLOST address the many other pressing needs facing our county and cities rather than allocating funds for the expansion of the county jail. County officials have provided no detailed justification of the need for jail expansion, nor have they explained why this project deserves priority over such projects as updating roads, sidewalks, and water and sewer infrastructure in downtown Clayton and prevention of the flow of raw sewage into Stokoa Creek. Since downtown Clayton and the route 441 thoroughfare are focal points for much of the commercial activity of the ENTIRE county, we do not believe SPLOST expenditures dealing with those areas should be limited to Clayton’s portion of the total population of the county.

MOVEMENT TOWARDS CONSOLIDATION OF PUBLIC WATER AND SEWER SERVICES

Our coalition supports the principle of consolidation of public water and sewer services in the county. However, the successful implementation of consolidation over time requires the establishment of a cooperative rather than an adversarial relation ship between county and Clayton officials. To date we have seen little evidence that either the county manager or the commission chair are making a sustained effort to accomplish this critical goal. As a confidence-building measure, we suggest the county provide concrete assurances to Clayton that the first priority in any consolidation will be to repair and update the city’s infrastructure rather than create new infrastructure along the 441 corridor.

We recognize that the county is far from solely responsible for the current poisonous relationship between itself and the City of Clayton. We also recognize that, to make progress, it may become necessary to a wholesale turnover of personnel ON BOTH SIDES before a desirable situation can emerge. We continue to hope that that will not prove to be the case, but our patience is running thin.

– Carolee Williams for Republicans

– Bill Stueck for Democrats

– Sarah Gillespie for Mountain Progressives