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First, I want to thank all the wonderful people of Coosa County who came to the aid of their neighbors after the tornadoes last week. Needs were great, and response was greater!
Once it was determined what was needed and where it was needed, the calls went out and volunteers showed up. With the widespread area of damage, it was difficult to communicate with each other since power, internet and cell coverage was out in many locations, so word of mouth was greatly depended on. We are just so dependent on immediate access to each other!
I’m not going to go into this story more because I feel it will be covered extensively by “The Coosa County News” in other articles. Just know, there is help out there! We just need to improve our ability to get the word out to the people who need it. With our paper being weekly, news is somewhat dated. But also, so many people do not subscribe to either the mail subscription OR the online edition. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but we have got to find ways to reach our citizens.
We are seeing an uptick in people moving into Coosa County, and we may need to look at some type of “Welcome Wagon” that can provide information for the county services, school information, neighborhood watches, etc. so they will have a starting place. Yes, that takes work, but how would you feel moving into a new area with no direction? We don’t have “neighborhoods” like the big cities where people live right next door to their neighbors. We are spread out in the woods, on farms, down dirt roads people don’t even know about, and we tend to stay to ourselves a lot. Disasters like we just had highlight the difficulties in communication in rural areas.
Keep in mind, we have limited resources through our county government – a limited number of Sheriff’s Office, road department and other paid responders. We depend on volunteers for so much of the aid we might need. The sheer size of our county versus the people currently employed and/or volunteering is small. Our volunteer fire departments, neighborhood watches and local churches do as much as they can, but they need more people to be involved. Please think about that and what YOU might could bring to the table.
Rodger Williamson’s column last week was very informative on the issue of taxation. Part of the problem is there are so many people who pay NO income tax – state or federal. Drug dealers, illegal immigrants, non-employed people (or paid in cash only), and others involved in illegal activities do not file tax returns. But most ALL people pay sales tax or some type of consumer tax – even those people listed above.
Ever since I worked for the Alabama Department of Revenue, I have asked why we could not go to a straight sales/consumer use tax. This way, you would pay taxes based on what YOU SPEND. Some of us are on tight budgets and spend only on the necessities. Others have income to cover some non-necessities, and others can afford to buy luxury items. If the tax was only on goods, people would be paying based on what they could afford to buy. It would definitely be a major change over, but I think this type of taxation should be considered.
Something else that would help would be returning the responsibilities of government to the sovereign states where it was meant to be. As citizens, we can better control the government closer to us – even though we don’t do a very good job of it!
Consider another article from last week’s paper – a rerun of information from Commissioner Ronnie Joiner on why our roads can’t be fixed. We are prevented by the state from implementing fees or taxes on the companies/absentee owners who use our county to make millions off the timber they cut here.
They are not required to repair damages they cause or even contribute to the repairs. These owners are represented by very well-paid lobbyists who contribute to elected officials so their interests will be heard over those of “we the people.” I’m not going to call names because so many of the landowners in Coosa County are protected by these lobbyists. Please notice I said “landowners,” not “citizens.” Many of these owners do not live or have any personal relationship to Coosa County. They came in and bought up land as small family farms began to disappear, and the younger generations sold out never to return.
Keep in mind, as our economy continues to see huge inflation, we will be paying more money not only for the goods we buy, but also on the taxes for those goods. Incomes may go up and more taxes collected, but those incomes do not stretch to cover the increases in spending that is required for the necessities – food, clothing, medical, etc.
Please keep all the victims of the storms in your prayers. Their needs don’t stop when the roads are cleared. Some lost part of their belongings, but some lost everything, including their homes. Also pray that Coosa County itself will be declared a disaster by Gov. Ivey so our citizens can receive assistance.
Until next week…God bless you all.