Before we dive in, because I value accuracy, let me clarify something. My July 15 column read in part: “Commission Chairman Greg Tapley (just reelected) and up-for-reelection-and-with-a-challenger Commissioner Larry Evans are not, at this time, supporting county internet expansion.” For clarity’s sake, the portion could have read that they are not supporting county-FINANCED internet expansion. Still I can’t help but wonder if “Coach Tapley” has had too much “whine”.
REMEMBER A couple of months back when the Georgia DOT announced intentions to build northbound I-75 truck lanes and panic set in with the Forsyth City Council. Some councilmen were listening to rumors and anticipating the worst, that businesses just off the interstate, including restaurants and motels, would be coming down under DOT’s wrecking ball.
After gnashing of teeth and some councilmen sharing concerns, DOT has changed its mind. Several politicos are trying to take the credit for persuading DOT to take its bulldozer to the center lane instead of land grabbing and disrupting several of Forsyth’s interstate-dependent businesses. From what I hear there was some behind-the-scenes arbitration going on.
But the DOT’s plan remains the same: to provide more room for semi-trucks travelling north out of Savannah on I-16 and I-75 to Atlanta. I very much remember, headed toward Swainsboro via I-16, traffic was as light as gnats above the gnat line. Now we’ve got gnats, and almost overwhelming semi-truck traffic on the interstate though Forsyth and Monroe County.
As comedian Jerry Clower exclaimed, “Shoot up amongst us. We need some relief.” Well, we are gonna get some relief thanks to President Trump. And then there is the line from Charlie Rich’s song “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors”.
I SHALL regress again and go back to 1972 when I started this newspaper. At that time, according to predictions, Forsyth and Monroe County were on the cusp of a growth spurt that would enhance population and business. Well, after 48 years, growth is beginning to take advantage of us instead of us taking advantage of growth….water lines, industrial and business growth, internet service, population on the increase. We are being “discovered”.
I am going out on a limb and, if in error, correct me without venom and sarcasm (consider my age). The first real estate company/person in Monroe County I was familiar with when edition No. 1 rolled off the press was Jack Murray, also a Forsyth City Councilman and insurance agent. He was the son-in-law of Mike Dodd, also now a Forsyth City Councilman. Then the second or third realtors were Jeanette Tolbert or Jimmy Pace.
Now that Monroe County is in the northern middle Georgia real estate discovery zone, according to my source, Forsyth-Monroe County has five live-in Monroe County realtors and a whole lot of agents working for those five who try to sell and get buyers. And many of those realtors have access to out-of-town/county and national realtor networks. I am a subscriber to The Wall Street Journal and each Friday they publish a “Mansion” section advertising homes all over the U.S., even advertising a house here in Monroe County for a whopping $16 million. That’s right, million. I have yet to see a home, condo or apartment advertised for less than $1 million.
MAYBE THERE is another profession getting its share of business locally -- lawyers. As you have read and heard, Forsyth and the county are on opposite ends of the see-saw to resolve the city’s attempt to annex over 1,000 county acres.
The county commissioners, including the chairman, have stated openly they are not against development, they just don’t like the way the city is attempting to “slide around” the county (them) to grab the land. So, the city attorney and county attorney are already racking up billable hours and preparing to present their cases in arbitration to the Department of Community Affairs. It will not be any time soon, “on or about Sept. 21”, this year (maybe).
The landowners want to be annexed into the city so Forsyth can provide water to any interested business locating in the H&H Development. Of course another hurdle is the property does not have sewer. It could become the “septic tank center” of Forsyth.
Here are few of the 61 county checks written totaling $307,686.24: Towaliga Judicial Circuit for drug court, $10,324.16; Ten-8 Fire Safety Equipment, $16,338.54; Head Heating and Air, $47,625.00; Ham’s Auto Parts, $4,274.38; Harbin Engineering, $8,677.23; Carter Engineering, $45,825.20; Fortis Engineering Water Project D#1, $93,759.07
NOW THAT Forsyth’s Mayor is recovering from COVID-19, wonder if he will issue an executive order requiring masks to be worn all over the city? Wonder if he got COVID-19 from one of two councilmen who defiantly don’t wear masks when council meets. They don’t cover their noses, just mouths. Here’s an idea: use some Main Street or CVB money to feature the mayor in a video showing how to properly put on and wear a mask.
THE NEW Backlot President is Kristy Calhoun and since there was not a correct answer to The Question, here’s another The Question: What is the name of the Monroe County emergency alerting system? First correct answer after 12 noon Thursday gets a certificate for a dozen Dunkin Donuts, Whistle Stop fried green tomato appetizer, single scoop ice cream at Scoops, slice of Shoney’s pie, Dairy Queen Blizzard, slice of Jonah’s pizza and a Forsyth Main Street t-shirt.