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Letter to the editor
Commissioner offers an apology
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Forsyth County News
I read Ken Leach’s letter to the editor and could not agree more about my behavior at the work session on 04/13. It was totally uncalled for and not the way I like to conduct myself. I have issued a public apology to Commissioner Boff and to the entire Board of Commissioners.

I don’t buy into excuses and, the fact is, there simply is no excuse for my behavior.

I would like our citizens to understand my frustration. This golf course issue has been contentious and suspect long before I went into office. I fully support Commissioner Boff’s right to present any issue for consideration, but I strongly disagree with the way this has been handled. It is being used as a wedge on other positive issues causing this board to ignore necessary planning.

The public is being misled about the appraisals that have been done and the commissioners pushing this issue are perfectly willing to pay millions of dollars over appraised value to appease a small constituency. The heated discussion last week led to the hijacking of my agenda item.

Despite what has been stated by the proponents of the golf course, I did present a plan to Commissioner Harrell on Jan. 19. I offered a plan that could preserve the 180 acres and offer something for all citizens that could become the recreation hub for the area — a plan which was rejected immediately. My plan preserved 9 holes of golf that could cover its costs, have over 75 acres of greenspace and offer a community center.

Every commissioner is aware the county will release bleak news about its financial condition in the near future. The board’s lack of effort toward business growth (thereby creating jobs, additional sales tax revenue and increased property value) is shameful. Two years into the longest recession in modern history and we spend more time on a golf course than we have on effectively running the business of the people.

Sadly, here is what I predict for 2010: A general fund balance at the lowest point in history; a rise in the millage rate; increased water and sewer rates; sales tax collections at pre-2006 values; the tax digest will shrink by 10 percent and a potential downgrade of our bond rating. Yet, as a board, we are not being proactive in addressing these issues.

Mr. Leach, I apologize to you, the board and every citizen for my outburst. I hope I have the chance to earn your respect in the future.

Commissioner Patrick Bell