Dear Sirs: What's the old saying... "When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging!
With each passing week, the local papers are filled with stories of how dire the finances are for Newton County.
Newton County taxpayers are faced with an unprecedented increase in the millage rate, even though voters were urged to pass the Splost, so property taxes would not be increased.
Yet, presented with the economic reality of 2011, trail proponents and some local officials are so focused on shoving the trails down the throats of the Newton County taxpayer, they fail to see what is going on around them - high unemployment, high foreclosure rates, neglect of our roads and bridges (brought on by declining tax revenues) and cutbacks at the NCSO are just a few examples of our local problems.
Newton County needs to prioritize spending. Our government cannot afford to fulfill every want any group can "dream" up.
The citizens of the county are fortunate that a majority of our elected officials, city and county, have the "common sense" to recognize these projects such as "Rails to Trails" for what they are, an enormous money pit for our hard earned tax dollars and a very real security threat to all who live along the path.
Look past the smoke and mirrors and all the false deadlines. Whether this project is disguised as a future Mag-Lev train route, a "must have" waterline corridor (which has been turned down by the Newton County Water Authority) or even a cure for obesity in Newton County, the real use will be for a recreational bike path.
Even when these trail projects were slipped into next year's T-Splost referendum, the Georgia DOT rejected the projects as recreational, not transportation. The proposed "Rails to Trails" will continue to rear its head until the trail advocates finally wake up and realize the taxpayers are fed up with these unnecessary burdens being piled on their backs.
Remember what one local Rails to Trails advocate said about the railroad purchase - "by hook or by crook." Taxpayer beware. No matter how much lipstick trail proponents put on this pig, they cannot hide the odor.
Prioritize and let's stop digging.