Letter to the Editor

By Arturo Corso

Hall County is a beautiful place to live, work and play because we are blessed with a “Community” in the truest sense of the word. Community. Even the word looks good on the page. Around here, your word is your bond and a handshake seals the deal. We treat each other with respect and fairness. If we make a mistake or harm our neighbor, we apologize and make it right. From that tradition, we have developed a bounty of outstanding leadership in this Community – naturally – because our elected leaders come from the people who live here.

Naturally then, the recent fracas over the old downtown jail has been very nearly resolved without the litigation that some had deemed inevitable. This is so because our County and City Governments are made up of community leaders who know how we treat each other and how we keep our promises. It would have been easy for the County to bully the City into accepting a zoning change or for the City to bully the County by refusing to supply water to the property. But those kind of aggressive tactics haven’t happened here.

Here, the agreement is and was that the City would buy the old jail and pay the County $4,000,000.00. The City is and was planning an expansive redevelopment of the area around the old jail. The redevelopment will benefit individuals and businesses in the County and the City. County officials, including Chairman Oliver, have already said they will go along with the original agreement because it’s the right thing to do – because they recognize that tax-paying City constituents are also tax-paying County constituents.

But now Someone has called for a new appraisal to be done of the old jail. Someone who is a professional real estate developer. Someone on the County Commission. Someone who is still holding up the business of the people. I’m sure that the old jail was appraised back when it was empty and the sales agreement set the price in the first place. Do we really need to appraise it now when everyone seems to agree that the original deal should be honored? Does the County really need to make a profit from the City when we’re talking about public property and the public good? Come on Mr. Powell, a deal is a deal. Change hats from “Developer” to “Commissioner” on this one. Let’s do what’s right for the Community as a whole and move on. What’s next?

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