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How much is quality of life worth to you?
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Forsyth County News
The great intangible discussed during last week’s commission debate on whether to implement a very slight increase in Forsyth County propery taxes was the elusive concept “quality of life.”

Simply put, the question becomes one of whether local residents are willing to pay more for a better standard of living.

What is more complex is determining exactly what elements constitute that “qualify of life” so often equated with living in Forsyth.

For some it is the knowledge that they can feel safe in their homes. For others, the opportunity to enjoy leisure time in parks and greenspace.
Quality of life for some means social programs that provide vital services to the infirm or elderly. Others may equate the concept with well zoned communities, easily traveled roads, a convenient and varied assortment of shopping options. For many, it is access to top educational facilities.

There is no one single thing that guarantees quality of life, nor is the concept the same for every taxpayer, which is what makes the job of those responsible for determining whether government services are vital enough to support with increased taxes so difficult for elected officials.

There is, however, little doubt that having a better “quality of life” is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy in economic terms. Counties perceived as having amenities become home to businesses looking for such an environment, thus creating jobs, adding more to the tax base, and making even more amenities possible.

In good times, when the county’s economy was booming, it was easy to start new programs, offer new services, expand government offerings and keep the residents happy. But those times of plenty are becoming distant memories, and successive years of cutting and reducing budgets for the county and the school system have brought leaders to the core of the question — what do local residents expect, and what are they willing to pay for it?

Remember too that not all communities are created equal. A lifestyle that many in Forsyth County take for granted is one that many Georgia counties can’t even imagine having.

Last week, county commissioners voted to enact a small tax increase. County school officials decided not to do so, but made it clear the time may soon come when such action is necessary.

It’s easy to say cut spending, eliminate the waste, cut the fat from the government. Harder though, is deciding how to do so and maintain that “quality of life” so many county residents expect to enjoy.

So what’s it worth to live in Forsyth County?