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Speak up on public projects

POSTED: May 12, 2013 8:00 a.m.
 

The complaint is one guaranteed to cause vexation to the most patient of public officials. A major decision will be made on an issue of significant importance. Someone will not be happy as a result. A petulant outcry will be sounded: “Why wasn’t the public asked for input on this?”

And those elected to do the public’s business will shake their heads, knowing that public hearings were held, opportunities for input were provided, opinions sought, and no one bothered to speak up.

It happens time and time again. Attend a budget hearing of the county school system or the county commission, and take a head count. Odds are that you won’t need the fingers on both hands to do the tally.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you are concerned about how the government works and what it does with your money, there are ample opportunities to become better informed and to make your opinions known.

County residents have two such opportunities pending.

The county’s school system currently is conducting a survey of residents’ opinions on future facility needs for the system. The survey will help school system officials as they map out plans for growth through 2019.

A simple online survey, found at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/facilities, asks for opinions about school size, building additions and classrooms in trailers, as well as soliciting priorities for extracurricular facility construction.

In a matter of minutes you can let school planners know if you think high schools are too big or too small, if athletic facilities are more important than technology labs, if you think new schools should be built or existing schools enlarged.

It’s that easy to have your opinion heard. But you have to take the initiative to make it happen.

A second opportunity for public input is offered by the state Department of Trans-portation, which is hosting two informational meetings this month on plans for Hwy. 20 between Canton and Ga. 400.

Those who choose to do so can participate in an online survey at sr20.metroquest.com, or you can learn more about the project at www.dot.ga.gov/sr20improvements.

The DOT also offers a chance to learn more and to speak out in person, with public informational meetings scheduled for Thursday at Otwell Middle School, and May 21 at Calvary Baptist Church in Ball Ground. Both are from 5-8 p.m.

The meetings and online survey offer ample opportunities to address the road project, but just as with the school survey, you have to be willing to be involved and make at least a minimal effort to do so.

Or, you can do like so many others seem to do, and wait until the decisions are made, then loudly protest that no one ever asks your opinion on how public money is spent.

 

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