Seniors stand up
The Centerville city website says the city is family and business friendly, but I see a campaign of hostility by the Centerville city government toward seniors that is unparalleled in the history of Middle Georgia. The Centerville government is supposed to represent all the citizens of Centerville, not just those under age 70, yet the city government is trying to yank the senior property tax exemption that was approved by the voters decades ago.
How many of these seniors have comrades that were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia with a rope around their neck? How many of these seniors have had comrades that were beheaded in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many of these seniors have been instrumental in building Middle Georgia, Centerville and America? But now the sharks are circling, trolling for seniors.
Singling out members of our older population to get the hand of government further into their wallets is against the wishes of the voters of Centerville that designated this benefit to our citizens in their twilight years. The city has prospered and flourished for decades with the exemption in place. The problem is not the senior exemption, it is a lack of competence to manage the citys finances.
Seniors, if you do not stand up for yourselves against this financial money grab the city government is going to steamroll over you. Propaganda works best when it is repeated relentlessly and that is what some of city council said they intended to do. In The Telegraph on March 6, page 2C Councilman Ed Tucker said he wanted to keep visiting this issue over and over. Mayor John Harley and Councilman Cameron Andrews are quoted as being against the exemption. Look out seniors, the city smells blood.
Seniors, if you value your benefits, maybe it is time to go to City Hall at 300 Church Street and make a little noise and let the city government know what you think of them. Encourage people to join you. For those in wheelchairs that can no longer put up a vigorous defense of their benefits you can call city government at 478-953-4734 and let them know what you think of them. Use your blue Disabled Parking Permits in a demonstration.
In America, you have to stand up for yourselves or those that would like to have your money will take it, no matter the consequences.
-- Dempsey H. Henson
Push by Harley
There is a major push by Mayor John Harley, Councilman Ed Tucker, and a few other less vocal councilmen to eliminate the small property tax exemption for senior residents of Centerville. This exemption only applies to seniors over the age of 70, so why all the concern. This is the portion of our population that is most vulnerable and living on fixed incomes. They have paid their dues and now deserve the small break they have been promised. Many are struggling widows living on a small survivors pension or government money. Tucker and Harley who pushed to get elimination of this exemption on the ballot say the city is losing money each year due to this exemption and growth of the senior population. So, why dont they eliminate the exemption for new residents? These gentlemen want more police presence and new fire department equipment.
Citizens, just ride by and look at the new multimillion dollar city hall under construction and the many new police cars. I am proud of our elected officials efforts to improve the city, but taking from those less fortunate to get a raise is not the way. I also applaud the city government for its continued willingness to allow senior citizens to use the facilities for some events. The less effective past city administrators should not have sat and allowed Warner Robins to surround them. Citizens, please get out and vote, but carefully watch the wording on the ballot.
-- Mike Adams
There is some confusion concerning the upcoming Centerville Senior Exemption vote this coming Tuesday, Nov. 5. Many of the comments printed in the Viewpoints section of The Telegraph this week concerning the Centerville Senior Exemption Referendum are not accurate.
The current exemption allows a full personal property tax exemption for those over 70 years of age. The proposed amended exemption would allow $50,000 off the assessed value of the property. The current exemption was voted on by the taxpayers of Centerville. At no time did the Centerville City Council enact this exemption. If any change to the exemption occurs it will be by a vote, which is the essence of democracy.
Currently, about 92 percent of all taxes collected provide police and fire services. Local government must maintain these services no matter what the financial burden created for our citizens under 70 years of age. Many have children and already have a difficult time meeting their living expenses. Giving all citizens the opportunity to vote on an amended exemption provides a fair and democratic process for all.
If the resolution passes, we expect to recover (in 2015) about $131,000 of the about $209,000 in tax revenues we now lose each year.
The voters of Centerville have an opportunity to fund initiatives potentially bringing new business to Centerville thereby balancing the current tax digest. For future economic viability I am voting YES for the amended exemption and I am asking all voters of Centerville to do the same.
-- Mayor John R. Harley
Vote for Joe
On behalf of Joe Musselwhite, I am pleased to offer my personal support for his candidacy for the office of mayor of Warner Robins. Joe has distinguished himself for over 22 years as a strong advocate for the growth and prosperity of our great city. Citizens residing here for the past 20 years cannot dispute the fact that our city has grown and prospered and is considered one of the best cities in the U.S. to raise a family. Musselwhite is one of the primary reasons our city has prospered and received this distinction.
Joe is the most knowledgeable candidate running for mayor. As public works director for the past 20 years, he knows the inner workings of city government such as developing budgets, securing bids for equipment and establishing priorities for spending taxpayer money in the most prudent manner.
Musselwhites many valuable contacts with other governmental entities and agencies at the local, state and federal levels will be extremely beneficial to our city, the base and the entire Middle Georgia area.
Musselwhite knows the city that he loves and has the respect and compassion for all its citizens.
-- Larry Beck
My mans Musselwhite
My choice is for Joe Musselwhite. Joe has touched every citizens life with a smile. During Bonaire Middles sewer problem, it was Joe who found a way to haul all the poo for the Houston County Board of Education for two years at no additional cost. Joe was responsible for the streets getting paved. During the South Corder Road extension, it was again Joe, working with the county, who got the wetland box culvert issues worked out.
Joe was born here, raised here, went to school here, worked here and raised his family here. In the 12 years I have had the pleasure to work with him on City Council, I found it hard to find any flaws in his character. He is the only candidate to write a balanced budget for the city, (his department). He knows more about city construction and running a city than any of the others. He has been vital to the Keep Warner Robins Beautiful program in keeping our fine city up to grade.
Joe has a proven record in working with the local counties and builders. When elected, all he has to do is change his hat and he is ready to go. So lets show our support in a better city by voting for the only candidate fully qualified. Vote Joe Musselwhite on Election Day. Lets get mayor and council back to real city business.
-- Dean Cowart
Now more than ever
The citizens of Warner Robins need to understand the vital importance of the upcoming elections for mayor and city council. The next round of BRAC will occur in 2015 or 2016, and Robins Air Force Base will be fighting for survival. Mayor Chuck Shaheen has done an outstanding job of rebuilding the relationship between the base and the city. He has worked diligently on solutions for projects that benefit both the base and the city.
His partnership with RAFB on projects such as the transit system, the clean-air project and his unwavering support of the military and civilian base workforce has made a big difference in our community.
Although he has decided not to run for a second term as mayor, he continues in his commitment to serve the citizens of Warner Robins, but as a city councilman.
We need Chucks experience and leadership in the coming years as we try to survive the next round of BRAC. He has been through the fire and understands how important the relationship between mayor and council will be in the future. I am sure that any voter who looks at the events of the last four years will agree, we need Chucks experience and dedication to duty to help us get by the next BRAC and lead Warner Robins to a bright future as a great place to raise a family.
I strongly urge everyone to vote for Chuck Shaheen for City Council post 1.
-- Hank Winner
Major General, retired
If you view this as an endorsement that is exactly what it is. Chuck Shaheen has the experience, knowledge, heart, dedication and character to continue to do good things for the citizens of this city. He is beyond any doubt worthy of your vote.
-- Charles Bond
Blessing to family
I would like to thank Mayor Chuck Shaheen for all he has done for our family. In 2010, our youngest child, Jack, became an ambassador for the Champions for Children program through Easter Seals. Through these walks, Jack and Mayor Shaheen have become good friends. Mayor Shaheen has made a huge impact on Jacks life.
He has encouraged Jack in many areas, one of which is to be an active member in the community. He has invited Jack to council meetings and even gave Jack a key to the city. Mayor Shaheen has encouraged Jack in his Ambassador duties and has come to every walk and participated. He has encouraged Jack in his faith and invited Jack to a Power Team ministry service in a local church.
Our family has been so blessed that Warner Robins has a mayor with such qualities as leadership and vision, but most of all, a Christian.
Even though he is not running for the position of mayor we feel thankful that he will continue public service as the next councilman for Post 1.
-- Carol Yelverton
Prayer for Today
Almighty God, you are my reason for happiness. I realize I have no reason to be sad when Im with you. Therefore, I choose to make a joyful noise unto you. My soul shall be joyful in you. I am filled with the comfort you have given me, and I choose to be exceedingly joyful even in times of tribulation. Please forgive me for my sin. Thank you. Amen.
-- Donnie Billingslea
Readers -- ministers, rabbis, priests and laypersons alike are invited to contribute prayers to this weekly feature. Mail them to Prayer, The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, GA 31213; or fax to (478) 744-4385; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.