Don Daniel

In an obvious ploy to hide behind Georgia’s Open Records Law (Act), the Monroe County Manager and County Lawyer are attempting to antagonize the editor of this newspaper and hinder the access of the public’s right to know.  Go back and read last week’s Will’s On the Porch Column. From what Will wrote and his experience “dealing” with the county lawyer and county manager will help you understand why the county commission is often dysfunctional. 

Being very familiar with Georgia’s Open Records Act, what can and cannot be released to the public and the news media is clearly defined. There are times when an open record letter is necessary but more often than not, there is cooperation and courtesy exemplified. The information requested is totally in the public domain and should be provided and totally publicly/individually upon verbal request, not requiring a written request.

It gets nasty when a public official uses the Open Records Law for protection and for self-service. This county lawyer/county manager have been on the verge several times of attempting to prevent the citizens they serve and work for the information to insure an open government, by the people and for the people. Guess the county manager is attempting to CHA!

Here are a couple of items for which public taxpayer money was used/spent: $3,888.50 for football and cheer uniforms; Harbin Engineering, $57,071.50 for “HE Projects” 4990-010-01 and 4990-010-01. Guess if we want to know what are “HE Projects” we will have to file an open records request with the county manager who will refer it to the county attorney who will bill the county (us taxpayers) for writing a letter back to county manager defining what can and cannot be released and citing the Georgia Opens Record Act/Law. Duh!; $7,500 to the Hubbard Alumni Association; get ready, $16,586.48 to Monroe County Hospital for inmates’ (jailbirds’) medical expenses; Stacey Necastro, $6,750 for contract labor (Sports Officials); $16,638.21 to Raffield Tire Masters, Inc., for inventory; Ten-8 Fire & Safety $9,939.55 for motor vehicle maintenance services. No lawyer bills or county commission reimbursement checks, yet. Sixty checks were written for a total of $269,033.50.

Just a couple of unattributed commissioner comments since the thrones of the chairman and the District 4 commissioner were empty:

 “Outstanding bunch running the county”; 

“The thought was”.

Hey, I am sure you have received your county tax notices and they are due in December. Since the county tax office does not close for lunch and is open Monday thru Friday 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., there is no excuse for not paying your county taxes. Take a bow of gratitude toward Plant Scherer for keeping those bills lower than most.  

OVER AT Forsyth City Hall, the Forsyth Convention and Visitors Bureau held its monthly meeting revealing how much hotel/motel tax was collected in June with the city getting $27,522.70 and the CVB getting its share in the amount $18,348.46. The biggest hotel/motel tax payer was again Holiday Inn Express paying $9,132.97. Second was Hampton Inn, which sent a check in for $7,626.57. Coming in at number three was LaQuinta Inn and Suites at $4,654.38. The lowest tax paid, $78.57, came from Budget Inn.

FROM HIS actions, Forsyth City Councilman Chris Hewett is more than twerked with Will, Diane and possibly me. Well I know he is very twerked with me after what he called me at a chamber breakfast. He canceled his subscription to The Reporter and Will sent him a refund check. Will should have given his refund in quarters so he could pay the $1 rack price. If anyone sees him purchasing a paper, take a picture and I will show it in this column. 

Guess he will be getting all his Forsyth news from the Macon television station when the Mayor calls a press conference. 

DID NOT realize that our seafood restaurant, Captain D’s, had been open for 30 years until I saw Glenda Lucear, who has worked there since it opened 30 years ago. That’s what I call a loyal and dedicated and obviously happy employee.

REV. JOHN TARRER up here at Paran Baptist Church in Blount asked to remind all my readers that Paran will be celebrating its 196th birthday this Sunday.  According to the announcement in the church bulletin, “We will have a meal after worship and the church will furnish the meats. Members please bring vegetables, salads, desserts and drinks”. Whatta you mean! Church not furnishing the tea? It was sounding like an old-fashioned church get-together until you have to bring your own drinks. I’ll be there regardless. Might sneak in a jug of tea, and I will share. Come join us for the service at 10:30 and the eating after Rev. Tarrer does his thing. A good Bible scholar/preacher by the way. 

AFTER COMING and celebrating at Paran, Brock Gill is going to bring his singing to Monroe Fine Arts Center Sunday and Nancy Calhoun was the first to answer “The Question”. Nancy gets a certificate for a dozen Dunkin donuts, single dip of ice cream from Scoops, slice of Jonah’s pizza, slice of Shoney’s strawberry pie, Dairy Queen Blizzard, Whistle Stop fried green tomato appetizer and a Forsyth Main Street t-shirt.

Here‘s The Question for this week: Name the Forsyth man who lost 70 pounds. First correct answer after 12 noon Thursday gets the fantastic goody certificate.

ONE FINAL note: If you missed the Forsyth Art Walk this past Saturday, sponsored by the 1823 Artisan Guild, you missed a treat. But you can see some local artists at the new home for the Artisan Guild on the square at the old city hall building next to Scoops. Don’t know the hours, but I’m sure they are posted on the door. Denise Buff is president of the guild.

Don Daniel is the founder and former publisher of The Monroe County Reporter. Email him at mediadr@bellsouth.net.