Sole commissioner Bebe Heiskell has recently elected to make Walker County, Georgia, responsible for the payment of long-term debt by issuing 20-year bonds to the amount of $15.2 million, and this is on top of the massive debt that we already have.
This massive debt obviously places the burden of repaying it on the future generation. It is an old trick that some politicians will resort to by borrowing excessive money while they are in office, which might tend to make them temporarily look good. And then the debt problems are shifted to the descendants for them to deal with.
However, it is recognized that some long-term debt might be necessary for essential projects provided it is minimized and kept reasonable.
Many citizens believe that not getting the massive debt under control and the passing of large debt to the future generation is unpatriotic. Instead, they believe Walker County should, general speaking, adopt a balanced budget with a pay-as-you-go plan, with the possible exception of an unexpected dire emergency that may arise.
Additionally, a pay-as-you-go plan makes the operational management much more efficient by eliminating the costly interest expense. Instead of going into debt, some counties will even build up a rainy day fund to cope with unexpected emergencies.
Unlike the federal government, Walker County does not have a money-printing machine, and the debt must indeed be repaid by the future taxpayers. As a Walker County taxpayer, I feel Heiskell should develop: (1) a sound fiscal policy which will start Walker County to financial recovery, and (2) an efficient management policy to prevent any costly blunders such as EPD penalties.
Moreover, Heiskell did not hold a dedicated hearing for the taxpayers to voice their concerns about Walker County going into long-term debt prior to going to court for the approval of it.
Jim Pope, LaFayette