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What lawmakers do in Atlanta does affect us
Limerick Plantation
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Correction: The Courier last Friday incorrectly said homeowners apply for the Kemp, DeLoach Williams homestead exemption at the tax collector’s office. Dot Moss had written in her Limerick Plantation column that you apply for the exemption at the assessor’s office and an editing mistake caused the error. The Courier regrets the error.

If it's there then why aren't we getting it?
According to the Associated Press, the Bush administration on Jan. 16 released $450 million to help needy residents pay soaring heating bills. Yet, recently when I applied for assistance, I was given the run around, stating there are no more funds. The press release states that lawmakers and heating aid advocates had pressed the president to provide additional funding to states through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. New York alone received $82 million. So this proves Georgia will get their fair share and that there will be plenty of money there to help. Please, no more "we're out of money" stories.

The rich get richer:  While many of us just keep our heads above water, our lawmakers in Washington gave themselves a $4,000 pay raise this year. Salaries for 2008 will not be $169,300. Supreme Court justices got raises from $203,000 to $208,100. Chief Justice John Roberts will get $217,400, from his former salary of $212,100. Yet, Medicare recipients only got a 2.3 percent increase in their monthly income. These figures make our measly Social Security checks look pitiful.

Recalls alarming:
  In October, there were 73 national recalls. As of Nov. 17, 22 more items were recalled. During December 59 items were recalled. This week I pulled up 19 more. If you have a computer go online and type in, then click on U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, then click on recent recalls and product safety news. You will be astounded at what has been recalled. This scares me.

Voting important:  The deadline for registering to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary/Special election was Jan. 7. The election date is Feb. 5. Deadline for registering for the General Primary/Special election is June 16, with the election on July 15. If you are reading this Barry Wilkes, how about contacting Coastal Electric and Georgia Power and get your jury list from those sources instead of our voters list. Maybe then everyone would register to vote. Please do this. Voting is a privilege and a right.

Workday at swimming hole
:  Don't forget, tomorrow is the January workday at Rec 4, the swimming hole in Lake George. Dress for the weather, and bring lopping shears, pruning shears, gloves, an axe, steel rake and if you plan on helping drag vegetation out of the lake, wear waders.

Making cars more efficient:
  General Motors, Chrysler and Honda are leading the pack in providing the public with more efficient cars. General Motors will offer 14 different vehicles that will come with cylinder deactivation devices, which shut off a portion of the engine's cylinders to save on fuel. Chrysler will offer seven vehicles and Honda will offer three. Now if industry would concentrate on an alternate, inexpensive fuel, we'll all be happy campers.

School taxes:  I found it interesting to read an article dated Oct. 7, whereby the Liberty County grand jury called for a school tax rollback. Yet school boards are saying they need more money to educate our children. Please don't mess with our exemption. The biggest portion of my tax statement used to be the school tax. Both of my boys had graduated by the early 1980s yet I had to continue paying school taxes until 2002. What is fair about that? What about people having to pay it that have never had children? The grand jury noted that they had reviewed the most recent audited county school board statements that ended in June 2006 and found these facts. The school board had nearly $51 million on hand in cash or cash equivalents, investments and related receivables. They had liabilities of a little more than $12 million. There was no long-term debt. And there was no expectation of more than minimal growth in the county's student population for at least the next five years. The grand jury concluded that the school board had more than $36 million in unrestricted cash reserves as of mid-2006. The jury also noted that the Liberty County School Board's new $8.2 million administration building in Hinesville probably wasn't the wisest use of taxpayer's money. So you out there who are trying to take this exemption away from us need to step back and don't mess with a good thing.

Bills affecting our lives:
  If you have a computer and care about laws that are being passed without your input or approval, then you need to go to and view and read these bills that have either already been passed or are being considered. There are several that pertain to our taxes, SB 218, SB 159, SB 8, SB 2, SB 291, HB 66, SR 686. House Bill 29 gives non-residents over the age of 65 the privilege of coming to our state and fishing and shrimping for free. House Bill 42 deals with private docks. HB 54 deals with our water supply. SB 154 deals with solid waste. HB 41 provides senior citizens with a break in the amount of time they can remain in a state park camping. HB 21 designates English as our official language and provides that public entities shall provide forms and documents in English only. Hurrah! HB 5 lists 14 infractions that can take points off your driver's license, one of which is use of cell phones while driving. SB 283 designates the entire month of April as Confederate Heritage and History month. Finally! SB 282 provides for the creation of alternative tourism routes. SB 221 will regulate sites that septic tank and porta-jon businesses use for their disposal of waste. SB 207 mandates that gasoline stations must by law post their current prices on the internet and if they fail to do so this bill will provide penalties. These are just the ones I printed up. This involved two hours on the internet but it was worth it.  

Deadline looming: 
For those of you that want to appeal your property tax statements, you only have Jan. 28 and 29 left. Call Melba Smiley of the Board of Equalization at 876-3196.  

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