Our county commissioners are asking for public input on their recent announcement to build an equestrian venue and agriculture complex complete with indoor/ outdoor arenas and convention center. The consulting firm commissioned by the county estimated the building cost to be $15 million to $28 million. Statements made at the March 2 County Commission meeting assured the commissioners it could be built for $3 million to $6 million. Regardless of the cost, we must ask ourselves the following:
1. Would our local banks lend this amount of money to a group of private businessmen to build this facility?
2. If the answer is yes, than let them build it, as a private for profit business.
3. If the answer is no, why build it? The banks will only lend the money if it will be profitable and pay back the loan. Tax money is for public buildings, roads, or sewer systems, not an equestrian venue.
This may be a terrific addition for Bulloch County, but it should not be done using taxpayers money. Tax dollars did not build Hackers. I support private sector development like Hackers.
It was also reported that $6 million SPLOST tax dollars are sitting in the bank. Yet we have many people in Bulloch County out of work, and many others trying to balance the family budget. The cost of food and gas has increased making a bad economic situation much worse. This money belongs to the taxpayers who are hurting in this economy.
The commissioners should use it to pay down the debt on current SPLOST tax projects so that the SPLOST tax can be eliminated. The commissioners represent the taxpayers not a few equestrians.
Commissioners should work to eliminate the SPLOST and provide tax relief in these bad economic times. Either do away with the SPLOST sales tax or ask the state legislature to allow the County to replace property taxes with the SPLOST tax to support the operation of our local schools. The people need tax relief instead of "nice-to-have" projects.