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Posted: January 22, 2010 12:01 a.m.

Our thoughts... Not sinking in

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A wise man once said that some people just don’t get it. Councilman Whatley, as clearly as you articulated your opinions in your lengthy Wednesday night diatribe (you can read it in full at CovNews.com), you do not understand the core issues of going to the north Georgia mountains for a council retreat.

 This newspaper is not opposed to the city having a productive planning session and retreat. The concerns of this newspaper regarding the city’s planned excursion to the mountains of north Georgia, focus on timing, location and perception.

 As more than 10 percent of the citizens of this county struggle with unemployment and as local homes have been foreclosed on in record numbers, the council decided to go forward with having this retreat at one of the most luxurious resorts in the state.

 No one is against the city of Covington elected officials and department heads having a retreat, especially this editorial board. In fact a retreat is an excellent way to concentrate on ideas that will improve a business or municipality.

 What members of the council don’t seem to understand is that the majority of the taxpayers of this city don’t want their council to waste their tax money by holding this retreat far away from our own backyard and spending $5,000 on a facilitator working for a company in a neighboring county.

 Mr. Whatley, and any other member of the council, can defend his actions until he turns blue in the face, but it still is not right to spend $6,000 to $8,000 in today’s economic climate in order to sit in the lap of luxury while devising strategies to be wise caretakers of the city’s treasury. We understand this expense is a tiny portion of the city’s budget, but many taxpayers are doing without their own small expenses so as not to incur any unnecessary debt.

 We want the city council to be comfortable on their retreat, but we ask residents to view the accommodations at the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa and decide for themselves whether the expense is warranted or extravagant. Please visit www.brasstownvalley.com and then tell us what you think by e-mailing jtlong@covnews.com or writing to Jennifer T. Long, Editor, The Covington News, 1166 Usher Street, Covington, Ga. 30014.

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