The Valdosta Daily Times
On Friday, a terrific crowd turned out, even in the cold, drizzly weather, to see the topping out of the SGMC Dasher Heart Center and Patient Tower. It’s the largest project SGMC has ever done, and it will be the last for some time. It also may be the last for this community.
Seeing the dozens and dozens of construction workers, electricians, plumbers, technicians, contractors, architects, etc. who are working long hours to finish the project is wonderful, but the knowledge that there is little to nothing that follows is depressing, especially at this time of year.
While voters, who were certainly within their rights in voting down SPLOST VII, are patting themselves on the back for sending a message to government that you don’t approve of how tax dollars are being spent, consider how happy you are going to be when your friends, neighbors and family members are out of a job in the next year.
Without SPLOST, all plans for projects are on hold. No auditorium, no library, no roads being paved, no renovation on the historic courthouse, no water/sewer upgrades, no soccer fields, etc. No contracts being awarded to local companies. No money to keep the local economy going.
The best thing about SPLOST, other than the fact that it only costs $1 for every $100 you spend, is that the tax was spread around and paid by those who live here and those who don’t. And the bulk of those dollars collected stay right here in this community, paying those electricians, contractors, pavers, plumbers, steel workers, painters, and the companies that supply the lights, the wood, the steel, the concrete, and so on. Or rather, the salaries of hundreds of local citizens.
So while those who are happy that the economic wheels of this community are virtually coming to a stop, and that the government has been given the message to live on a leaner budget, be sure that you pass that word along to those who will be out of work as a result.
If you don’t like something in your government, get involved, run for office, go to meetings, talk to your representatives, etc. but you have to wonder at some point if that $5 or $10 a month raise you may see in January 2014 was worth watching the local economy and the community’s infrastructure erode.