Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

April 6, 2013

Blame game deflects attention from the issue

-- — Millions of gallons of partially treated and raw sewage has been dumped into the Withlacoochee River and its tributaries by the City of Valdosta over 25 to 30 years. Sewage overflows from manhole covers and sewage overflows in residential neighborhoods and commercial areas occur every time it rains more than a few inches in a short time period.

These are facts, indisputable facts, and a blight on our City’s reputation. Trying to deflect attention from these facts is merely an attempt to direct the public’s attention away from the issue. Considering how pervasive the sewage problems have become, the public isn’t so easily fooled.

It’s admirable that the Chamber is concerned about the city’s reputation. They are simply doing their job, which is to protect member businesses and oversee the economic well-being of the community.

The Times is doing its job as well. It’s the newspaper's responsibility to inform the public of issues in the community as government watchdogs over taxpayers’ and citizens’ interests. The Times doesn’t create the issues which embarrass public officials — the newspaper merely reports them. And the Times considers millions upon millions of gallons of sewage spilled to be an issue.

As readers can see from today’s stories, the Times has attempted to get answers to our questions, even to the point of repeating the questions several times. Readers can also see the answers provided. If there are misunderstandings that are printed, perhaps now the community can see why.

The Times apologizes for implying that the city was past due in its GEFA loans, as GEFA states that’s not the case, but that still doesn’t explain the contradictory answers or the disparities between the city’s loan spreadsheets and GEFA’s.

Ultimately, the Times is trying to find out where the money has gone from the water/sewer fund, how the city intends to pay back its current debt and the future debt it is in the process of applying for, and what short-term solutions the city is going to provide to the residents and businesses affected by small rain events until the lines and the plant are rebuilt, in three to four years time.

After this $32 million GEFA loan is awarded, the City will be in debt to GEFA for almost $90 million. The Times is trying to find out how those loans will be repaid if SPLOST doesn’t pass. Does the City intend to try and get a SPLOST this November and a MOST next year as well?

Perhaps after giving the Chamber group information on the City’s financial status, the Mayor and City Manager would be willing to stop by the Times and do the same. That way, the entire community can be better informed, not just a select few.

All citizens have the right to question their elected and paid government officials. They have the right to know where their tax dollars are going and if their taxes are going to be raised. They have the right to know when sewage will stop being released into the environment and into their yards.

1
Text Only
What We Think
  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

  • Too many pinwheels

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with numerous volunteers assisting the Child Advocacy Center in placing pinwheels on the lawn of the Valdosta City Hall. Each pinwheel represents one child that was a victim of abuse in 2013. Volunteers placed 887 pinwheels in remembrance.

    April 8, 2014

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results