First, let me applaud the so called "Dalton Gang" for their common sense approach on the issue of "Rails to Trails" and its perspective in today's troubled economy and shrinking tax base.
The facts have been on the table for many months regarding this issue. The Covington News needs only to review its own articles to grasp the "facts" concerning this issue.
The purchase of the railroad is not a priority issue with the majority of local taxpayers. The promise of boosting Newton County's economic status with the opening of shops, restaurants and bed and breakfasts, along with increasing job opportunities is only a thinly veiled attempt to justify this unpopular proposal.
A majority, five out of six, council members admirably took a step back and did look at the facts...
One blatantly obvious fact is that the economy is in a very shaky position and taxpayers as a whole are hurting as a result. Taxpayers are adjusting to the changing economy. We expect our elected officials to do the same.
The fact of the matter is that "Rails to Trails" will consume high amounts of tax funds, not only to buy, but to build, maintain and try to secure the trails for the benefit of only a few.
This appropriation comes from the United States Department of Transportation's funding, which is the taxpayer's money and should not be regarded as free money - Money that could be better spent to improve traffic congestion.
The question to buy or not to buy has been asked and in my opinion, thoughtfully answered by the majority vote of the council. For the Covington News to say that this vote was to embarrass Mayor Kim Carter does a disservice to the council members and their effort to protect the taxpayer's money.
This vote, along with the Council's recent vote to halt additional spending on retreats and facilitators, shows good promise that taxpayer's money is being well tended.
Thanks to the Covington City Council. For the record, I am a property owner along the railroad.