You will not be seeing me at any of the remaining 2050 Plan meetings. The reason is because I had a 30-minute session with Commission Chair Keith Ellis and learned that he and some other commissioners have realized the program — as proposed — is just not going to work for us.
It is time for The Center for Community Preservation and Planning to admit that the plan was not yet ready for public consumption. That was a fatal mistake.
Most of us do not even know how this group of amateurs at The Center got involved in this planning in the first place. No one at The Center has any experience nor degrees in these matters. To the best of my knowledge, no members in Smart Growth Newton or the other organization involved, Newton Tomorrow, are qualified.
We all know our tax dollars go into a professional organization that was put into place to develop plans like this with degreed planners on staff. The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission “ … was formed to handle planning and development for the member counties,” of which Newton is a “paying member.”
In the event our Board of Commissioners lost their contact information, here it is: 305 Research Drive, Athens, GA 30605. Their services include local government planning, economic development, grant preparation, administration, job training, and aging services. (We are also paying to have grants written by persons here who have no professional experience!)
It has become obvious to any person who has any degree of objectivity that The Center’s role in this complex planning exercise has also come to an end. My vote is to go with our local planners from NGRC who know our demographics, our problems and have a feel for our needs in Newton County, Ga., instead of carpetbaggers. Why not, we are paying them anyway. Stop the bus and call The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission and get this job done right.
Sam M. Hay