August 19, 2009


Well you missed a good show if you did not attend the Board of Commissioners’ meeting August 17, 2009.   Citizens attending were aware of how rude and uninterested the Chairman, Mr. Pennamon was during agenda comments.   It seems that when you are elected as Commission Chairman you automatically assume the role of a King.   It might be a good thing if the High Chairman remembers from whence he comes.  He wasn’t the only one.  Comm. Hill didn’t look at the citizens either, and Comm. Payne spent most of his time reading something.  The taxpayers that were interested enough to attend the meeting did not even receive the respect of these Commissioners they pay with their tax dollars to run this county.   One citizen stopped what she was saying to ask Chairman Pennamon if he was listening.  He looked up said, “I hear you,” and looked back down.  Five citizens spoke and all spoke against the county giving JCWSA money.   When a person finished speaking the High Chair would dismiss them with a wave of his hand.

 Maybe the reason citizens were ignored is because it appears what was being objected to—bailing out JCWSA-- was a done deal. Yes, that’s right a DONE DEAL. Jasper County Water and Sewer were back on the agenda for the third time asking for money; however no one from JCWSA was in attendance.  Mr. Alexander, the County Attorney, said he had a report to read and suggested the meeting be changed so he could read it in executive session. Was that legal?  It depends on who you talk to.  There was no discussion in front of the public. 

 After the executive session was over the BOC came back into the room.  Comm. Patrick and Comm. Cox both had looks on their faces that anyone could tell they were not happy campers.   Comm. Payne, the one who has Brack Pound, the Chair of the JCWSA as his campaign treasurer and had been asked not to vote on the issue, made the motion to give JCWSA the bail out money.  Comm. Hill made the second, then Chairman Pennamon, Comm. Payne and Hill voted yes to give JCWSA $27,860.72. 

Comm. Patrick and Cox abstained and were visibly upset.  Think about this.  The JCWSA lines are in District 4 and District 5; the 3 commissioners that voted FOR the bailout represent District 1, 2, and 3 where there are no lines (District 3 has limited lines down Jackson Lake Rd.).  So District 1, 2 and 3 voters, do you appreciate your commissioners making you pay for something you have nothing to do with and get no benefit from?

Chairman Pennamon and Comm. Payne as well as Mr. Alexander attended the last JCWSA meeting.  It appears that it was decided in that meeting to give JCWSA money they say they were owed from 2006.  The amount of $27,860.72 was listed on the JCWSA balance sheet dated 07/31/09 from JCWSA’s meeting package from their August 11th meeting. 

JCWSA did not come to the BOC when they were borrowing and spending
all the money they now owe.  The nine member board did not come before
the BOC and ask if they thought their projects would benefit Jasper County.  You know, all those projects to bring in industry to the county!! Yeah, right!

Comm. Pennamon and Comm. Hill were on the BOC when then County Attorney W. Dan Roberts said it was illegal to help Alcovy Water & Sewer Authority.  These two have been BOC members every term through all the votes and decisions to help and give JCWSA whatever they ask for.  Comm. Pennamon and Comm. Hill have never let public opinion get in their way of helping out special interests. 

The taxpayers of Jasper County have been told time and again that this was an authority (which was formed after it was voted down by the citizens) and would stand alone; it would not cost the taxpayers of this county any money.  What a LIE!!  The JCWSA has come to the BOC every year for money and gotten it, either a direct payment from the BOC or in the form of a hydrant tax. 

JCWSA should go to USDA, GEFA, Bank of Monticello, and the other agencies that they owe a debt and try to work something out. It is not the BOC or the taxpayer’s responsibility to continue giving money that the County does not have and throwing it into the mismanaged mess of the JCWSA.  

The County has one water authority (ASWA), 2 city water systems, and one private water system that have furnished water in the county for many years, WITHOUT asking for bail out money.  These citizens have and are paying their debts.  THEY SHOULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHER AUTHORITY’S DEBTS!  Taxpayer’s should not be responsible for JCWSA debt.  Let JCWSA work it out or fail! 

Since the BOC is talking about having to borrow money, how can they take on another debt?  Is this fair to county employees, county agencies, and other water entities that have had to make sacrifices?  Where does the BOC plan to acquire the money to bail out JCWSA?  How will this money be repaid?  Does this mean another tax increase for the county residents that don’t benefit from JCWSA?  What departments get cut to help out JCWSA?  What are they going to do next year when this money is gone? Come to the BOC again and beg?? 

Citizens, wake up!  Stand up! Tell the BOC to rescind the vote and take the money back.  If we don’t do something now, you just as well bend over and take what else is coming.


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