This is the end, my friends. After writing this column for more than three years, it is time for me to move on. I also write for three magazines and the commitment to the magazines is starting to demand a lot of my time. I have enjoyed bringing you the latest information on Midway and hope that you will attend the monthly meetings to keep the mayor and city-council members on their toes.
The end of this column does not mean that the problems in Midway have gone away. They appear to be worse than ever. The city is in grave financial trouble, which I am afraid will cause taxes to rise along with the water rates. The city is attempting to consolidate past loans — some that go back as far as 1996 — and incorporate new expenditures into a new loan, which will total around $3 million or $1,429 per person. This is debt that you, the residents, will owe. As we see from the federal government’s debt, the city can only borrow so much before raising taxes or going broke.
Midway has little chance of becoming a thriving city. Its infrastructure is failing as water availability becomes limited. It will cost more than $1.3 million to obtain a second water source and address some of the infrastructure issues. In addition, companies do not want to move into the area because Midway has few qualified high-tech workers, who are needed in this high-tech world.
Midway’s portion of the proposed SPLOST is minimal compared to the county wanting to spend
$3 million on recreation, $8 million on the justice center and $1 million on MidCoast Regional Airport. The mayor did nothing to secure SPLOST money to update the city’s infrastructure.
A small minority came out to vote last year, while the majority allowed people with negligible business experience to be elected to run the city. Their inexperience clearly shows in the way that the city is not able to progress like Richmond Hill or Pooler, although Midway is geographically positioned to be a major business and residential center. I have lived here more than 12 years and have not seen any major business or residential growth. Without this growth, there is no tax base.
The city has an agreement with the county for some services, such as patching roadway holes, the excavation and cleaning of roadside ditches, and mowing road-shoulder areas. For some reason, the mayor has decided that the city should spend the money and resources to perform these functions rather than have the county do it.
Basically, what all this leads up to is that maybe this should also be the end for Midway. Maybe the city should un-incorporate and turn everything over to the county. After all, the county wants to take over the fire department.
The county considers Midway to be the gateway to Liberty County. Therefore, the county should make Midway at least appear to be a gateway and not just a step-relative at the east end of the county. The county already takes Midway’s property taxes, building permits and third-party fees. The city even has to pay the county to use the jail. For all intentions, the city is just a subdivision of the county with absolutely no influence.
“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” — Thomas Jefferson
I know that a lot of you care, but just not enough. People feel helpless and that the only role they can have is to consent to government decisions. Be the solution.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway and has written for trade publications in various fields.