Friday, September 30, 2005

CAMDEN 9-30-05


In a backroom vote At-Will Employment
was approved by certain (not me) County
Commissioners. Proof is the fact that it
is part of employment applications in
Human Resource Office. So much for
open government. (Thanks to Agent X
for information)


We have been advised that former
Fire Chief Danny Daniels has been
cleared by District Attorney Kelley
of all charges. For background

Will he be offered his position back?


In a legal opinion obtained by this
publication ACCG (Association of
County Commissioners of Georgia)
legal staff advises that "a County
Commissioner cannot act as a
County Manager."

Will Rainer step down?


Stories still persist that the mill site
is full of contaminents. We await
definitive reports from the agencies

If so, will it be covered up to make
a sale or will honesty prevail?


The question of who will own the site
and how much local taxpayers money
will be needed for the project remains
a question.

Hang onto your wallets.....


See Georgia Law 45-20-1, 45-20-2,
45-20-6, Code Section III, paragraph
II of the constitution and article Z of
chapter 2 of this title also chapter 3
of title 1. See also 36-1-21. Opinion
one might infer that by adoption of
the personnel poilicies by resolution in
2001 (which incorporated guidelines
for hiring and firing) the County created
a Civil Service System, and cannot
unring the bell.

Anyone terminated under At-Will
should show this to their attorney.

I. writes about gas prices:

R. writes about At-Will Employment:
Hey Commissioner,I understand that the
applications for employment currently
being used by Camden County indicate
that the county employs people on an
"at-will" basis. Seeing that this policy
hasn't been voted upon but has already
been put in place, it seems that our elected
officials have made a decision for the
people without waiting for the input of
the people, as promised. But of course we
didn't expect anything less, did we? If this
keeps up and I keep making noise, I'll
probably end up in the gulag, comrade.

J. writes about At-Will:
I wanted to tell someone about an incident
I witnessed the other day. As I am an
employee who wishes to keep his job, I
can't tell anyone about it. Except maybe
you. Just to set this into proper context:

Several years ago a deputy was in charge
of some trustees. This deputy took one to
see his family, then left him there for
several days. Of course, the trustee fled
to be later caught. The deputy was
reprimanded, and I believe was given
some time off. I don't remember if it was
with or without pay. Well, the other day
I saw another deputy, or perhaps
S.O. employee will do. This man does not
wear a uniform and indeed does not do
any of the duties of a deputy. EXCEPT he
is in charge of several trustees. This
employee is also a former
commissioner. 'Nuff said about THAT.

As I was driving down MLK going towards
Kingsland, I noticed this employee walking
down the street away from his vehicle
where several trustees were lounging,
smoking, and talking with several other
people who were in their cars. The man
"in charge" was too far away from them
to be able to stop them from taking his
vehicle or even stop them from getting
into any of these vehicles and leaving the
area. I say, who holds them accountable?
A trustee is still someone who has
committed a crime and is not a free
person in the proper sense of the word.

But then, neither are the county
employees. We are held hostage
by the new policies about to be
voted on...

Thank you for listening to us.
Keep up the good work.

R. sends humor:
Yes, just a simple question. How could
an innocent question like "Do you know
me?" end up like this? And why lawyers
should never ask a witness a question if
they aren't prepared for the answer.
During a trial, a small town Southern
prosecuting attorney called his first
witness to the stand; a grandmotherly,
elderly woman. He approached her and
asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded, "Why, yes I do know you,
Mr. Williams. I've know you since you
were a young boy, and frankly, you've
been a big disappointment to me.
You lie, you cheat on your wife, you
manipulate people and talk about them
behind their backs. You think you're a
big shot when you haven't the brains
to realize you never will amount to anything
more than a two bit paperpusher. Yes, I
know you. "District Attorney Williams
was stunned. Not knowing what else to
do, he pointed across the room and
asked "Mrs. Jones, do you know the
defense attorney?" She again replied,"
Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley
since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy,
bigoted, and he has a drinking problem.
He can't build a normal relationship
with anyone and his law practice is
one of the worst in the entire state.
Not to mention he cheated on his wife
with three different women, one of
them was your wife. Yes, I know him.
"Bradley, the defense attorney, almost

The judge asked both the District
Attorney and the defense lawyer to
approach the bench, and in a quiet
voice, said; "If either of you bastards
asks her if she knows me, I'll throw
your sorry asses in jail for contempt."

Sandy Sez:
I give endless amounts of
credit to St. Marys for their
open government policies
and the structure of their
public meetings. However,
the endless rhetoric and
failure to finish debates
on important issues is indeed
troubling. Especially when
so many of the councilmen
are running for re-election.

"Actions speak louder than words."

Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

CAMDEN 9-28-05

St. Marys Election

This years election for Mayor and City
Council is a truly unusual one.
Commissioner Steve Berry purports to
be (by his rhetoric) the Chairman of
the County Commission, the Sheriff and
Jail Keeper. One has merely to observe
him to understand what I am saying.
Now, by his various alliances he wishes
to become Mayor of St. Marys and
through his surrogates the controlling
force on the City Council.

During the next few weeks we will be
featuring candidates that will vote their
conscience and meet the needs now and
in the future for the citizens of St. Marys.
We will be blunt and too the point and
we will afford every opportunity for those

who differ with us to voice their position.
Quite candidly St. Marys does not need
the influence of a pseudo dictator
controlling its future.


ACCG (Association County
Commissioners of Georgia)
Chief Council advises us that
"A County Commissioner cannot
serve as County Manager." The
Commissioners and County
Attorney have been notified. No
result at this time. Keep tuned.

Joint Development Authority

Soon to be announced. A give
away that makes Express Scripts
look like chump change. Keep
tuned for this one. You will not
believe it.


You may agree or disagree but
when Keith Dixon was Mayor of
the "City of Kingsland" the city
was on the move. Now, it appears
to have dissappeared out of sight.
Hopefully, the elections will bring
a little bit of life back.




Remember if you want good dictatorial
government that promises consolidation
of Police and Fire Services with the
County. If you want walking out
when the vote goes the other way.

Elect the Berry Line.

Paid for by I.M. NUTS

Sandy Sez:
St. Marys has tried to conduct
itself in the open. Don't let
darkness come in. Dark Vader
(Berry) has no place in City

Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Friday, September 23, 2005



In a memorandum dated September 13,
2005 the staff was notified of the plans
to bring it to a vote at the October 4th
meeting of the County Commission.
The memorandum was approved by a
telephone vote of Chairman Rainer,
E.B. Herrin and Steve Berry. To his
credit Preston Rhodes voted NO.

I was not notified!

The substance of the memorandum
is covered on page 2. Section 1.
Introduction, Paragraph C. titled
"At-Will Employment"

It states: "Nothing in these
personnel policies and procedures
is intended to create a contract of
employment. Employment with
Camden County, Georgia and the
Camden County Commission is
at will and may be terminated at
anytime, for any reason, or for
no reason at all." Repeat for no
reason at all.

There it is in a nut shell. Additionally,
in the text of the memorandum dated
September 13, 2005 it states, "ALL
employees who have questions or
concerns about the changes should plan
to attend (Oct 4th meeting) where they
will be given an opportunity to be heard
concerning the policy change. Given the
circumstances who (an employee) will
dare to speak up at the meeting?

The message is clear this is not a place
of employment where you can exchange
years of dedicated service for a salary,
benefits and retirement. It is a place to
hang your hat while you are looking for
real employment opportunities

It says shut up, hang your head low and
say yes boss, no boss. There is no room
for initiative. It means if you are
ambitious, conscientious, go elsewhere.
You are not wanted!!!!!!!

Mr. Rhodes very wisely did not vote for
this. He is the only working man on the
Commission. He works for wages and
understands the working man. The
others are tyrants of one flavor or another.

It is quite understandable why the others
did it in the dark. It cannot stand the
light of day. They should be ashamed of

As an aside I hear rumblings that the
staff will try to organize a union. I trust
if they do that the professional organizers
will advise them of their rights under
Federal Law which supercedes anything
the "dark 3 can do."

Good luck my friends, please feel
free to contact me with your
thoughts or concerns

Jim Withrow writes about airport:
I like Ed Marx are old timers here and
never seen any need in a airport here.
Years ago in early sixties it was not used
we wanted a drag strip and city was
against it, also Thunderbolt out of
Jacksonville wanted to rent it, still no.
I am totally against wasting money on
a new one. It sat there with no use till
Gilman's pilot refuse to land on it, then
all of a sudden a runway got paved with
no problems.

Now if you would like to check to see
if its possible that Sea Island may
want to give land for what they could
gain. If they are still working on the large
hunting preserve off Harriets Bluff road
and the cost a day was going to cost to
hunt yes I would want a air strip for my
personal use at tax payer cost. I wonder
if there plans are still going and if so if
this is possible just a thought.

Keep up the good work you are doing for
us. I am behind you just never spoke up.
It's about time the idiots running things
are going nuts. We need to start the mill
back up to create jobs for all. Not build
condos and etc. to help a few fatten there

That ground is so polluted how can EPA
give rights. After 43 years of working
there and what they said no way man to
build homes on it. I did go to EPA web
page there use to be a hazard barrel on
mill site as a waste hazard guess what it
has been removed?? Why because mill is
down, its still there.

I understand by rumor we have a drainage
problem due to mill down from city
engineers, that's kept quite?? Also a while
back our mayor said to save water , when it
ought to be running out her ears. With mill
down theirs about 30 to 40 million of gallons
a day not in use ??? OMG

Larry Johnson candidate for St.Marys
City Council:
I am asking for the opportunity to serve
all St.Marys on the City Council. For
some time, I have been concerned with
the direction our city is growing. With
all the great achievements we have made,
there are areas that need immediate
attention. The water and sewer lines must
be repaired. The expanding drug problem
must be corrected. And our seniors and
handicapped must be given better
accommodations. I hope everyone votes
on November 8, 2005.

H. writes reference to airport:
I've written previously (to the local news
editor) opposing relocating the airport.
If the federal government demands the
existing airport be closed (for whatever
reason), so be it. Close it. We do not need
another airport. If Sea Island Company
wants a private airport to serve its property,
let them pay for it. They currently provide
transportation for their guests from the
Brunswick, Savannah and Jacksonville
airports at any time, day or night. The
private businesses operating at the airport
can relocate, retool, or retrain for another
career. Many others have had that experience
in Camden of late. Unfortunately, the
Camden County commission does not
listen to its constituency. They seem to
know better than anyone. Or so they think.

Thanks again, Sandy, for asking what the
taxpayers think.

Marion Wall candidate for Kingsland
City Council:
Hi, Yesterday I qualified for Post 1
Councilman in Kingsland. I am sending
this to many friends. Some are in
Kingsland and some are out. I will be
running against Don Mounsey. What I
would like to know from you is; What
issues do you have about your city, county,
or just some political issue. I want to know
the issues of the people. I would like to
think about them for a while. Please help.

Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

Sandy Sez:
Come to October 4th meeting and
speak for the employees that cannot
speak for themselves. They can be
fired for "no reason at all." Repeat
for no reason at all.

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Dear Brenda,

It's time to automate your
department. After the recent
debacle re: timber taxes and need
for Camden County and the
School District to re-advertise
the public hearings for millage
rate, it is clear. The volume
of work is too large to continue
to be done by hand.

What is astonishing to me is that
your department, the entire
School Board and the entire
Board of Commissioners
(including me) and the professional
staffs that served them did not
pick up an $11,000,000.00 error.

It was Denise Taylor that brought
it to my attention. After she did
so I got the wheels turning.

I urge you to evaluate the situation
and come to the Commission with
a supplemental budget to fully
automate your department. This
will be such a convenience for
yourself and the public. Just
imagine the public being able to
pay directly to the state via your


Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Friday, September 16, 2005


I hope this e-mail finds everything going
well for you. I wanted you to be one of the
first to know that I will be qualifying today
to run for City Council of St. Marys. I am
running for this seat because I believe, as
I think you do, that St. Marys needs
quality leadership.

I appreciate your past support and look
forward to that continued support.

Thank you,

Sandy Reply:
Good Luck. We offer you and your
opponent this platform to share your
views on the future of St. Marys. Please
limit your comments to 500 words.
Thank you for offering to serve this

John Cressman writes about Airport:
Mr. Feller: Concerning the airport, I
think the gentleman who wrote the article
may not have all the facts on the airport.
I do not know why Sea Island is giving the
land for the airport but would assume
they have other interests that would
benefit from Camden County having an
airport. The cost of the airport would be
funded from Airport and Airways Trust
Funds held by the FAA and used to
promote aviation, from GA DOT funds
available for GA airports, and from the
City of St. Marys. The City of St. Marys
is the owner of the current airport and
would use the funds derived from the
sale of the property where the current
airport is located to pay their port of
the cost of the new airport. Included
in the cost of the new airport are the
road, water and sewer costs associated
with the new airport. The infrastructure
costs would not result in additional taxes
on the residents of the county. Why do
we need an airport if there are so many
so close? That is like asking why we
needed to fund the space program. We
had some ideas but no hard facts at the
time the decision was made and which
resulted in technological advances that
we now take for granted. We have
citizens of our county that own or rent
aircraft and business owners in our
county that depend on the airport for
their livelihood. Should we tell them
to leave, don't they have the same rights
that people who own cars or operate
service stations? Should we deny them
the basic rights others have? There is
also the question of development of the
county; I believe that the airport would
be an asset the future development of
the county. As for the airport generating
money, it does. The businesses that
operate at the airport pay taxes, rent
property from the city and the city derives
revenue from the sale of fuel at the airport.

The question as to where the FAA gets the
money for the Trust Fund was also
questioned. This money does not come
from a general tax but is a tax on the
people who use aviation facilities. If
you do not fly or use aviation facilities
you don't pay this tax. However, a
provision of the new federal highway
spending bill is hurting the aviation
community. It now requires that aviation
operators pay taxes meant for truckers.
This is resulting in the diversion of tax
funds from the Airport and Aviation
Trust Fund to the Highway Trust Fund.
No one likes taxes but if we want the
government to provide facilities and
services for us we have to be willing to
pay for them. The taxes for the
aviation community are paid for by
that community as it should be. I wish
it was the same for other facilities and

John H. P. Cressman, P.E.
Senior Associate
Robert and Company
435 Clark Road, Suite 606
Jacksonville, FL 32218
(904) 924-0050
(904) 924-0051 Fax

Sandys reply:
Thank you for the heads-up.

W. writes about Ed Marx comments:

Sounds reasonable to me what you

are saying about the airport. Maybe

the payoff is the property in St Marys

that will be vacated.

What do I get out of this deal?

Sandys reply:

That is the $64,000.00 question.....

Les Dooley writes about School Taxes:


My parents had their meeting on Tuesday.

They said the appraiser was very

condescending to them. He kept telling

them that they could sell the house for

a lot of money over & over despite them

telling him that we did not want to sell

the house because we couldn't replace it.

Despite that he said that we have people

moving in from up north who think our

taxes are a bargain and they are for

them but not for us.

The valuation board they said was

condescending toward our state

representative Jeff Chapman and

basically told him that he had no

influence in Camden County.

It is very frustrating to have people

like this in our county government.

They clearly don't have the best interest

of the population in mind. Greed is bad

in any form, but in government it is

worse because the population has no

power to fight them other than at the

ballot box and the elections are only

every so many years and it's not right

that they have to contend with these

kinds of issues.

They do have another avenue if this fails.

I will be contacting Jeff Chapmans office

and informing him of their meeting also.

It's unfortunate that you are the only

commissioner who has the peoples and

the countys interest in mind. I don't

know what the rest of the boards

philosophy is but I imagine it's like

Steve Berrys, tax and spend. I will let

you know what continues to happen

with their case. Thanks for your help

and keep fighting the good fight for us.

Sandys reply:

I am sorry your parents had a hard time.

I think its time to start a little

organization that would attend BOE

meetings as advocates for the taxpayers.

I'll share with you a personal story. I

called a member of the Board of Assessors

and told him a long time resident was

having trouble with the taxes. He said

"if he can't pay the taxes let him get a

reverse mortgage." So much for


If you and some others want to start an

advocacy group. Let me know and I

will be there for you.

Mr. Tact informs our readers:

Dear Editor,

I've just read a new, best-seller which

I highly recommend to you and your

readers: The Fair Tax Book, subtitled

Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax

and the IRS.

The co-authors are "reformed lawyer"

and syndicated talk show host, Neal

Boortz, and Congressman John Linder,

(R) GA. Congressman Linder is also

the principal author / sponsor of The

Fair Tax Bill (H.R. 25), currently before


In the interest of brevity (the book is

only 180 pages, by the way), I'll quote

from the back of the dust jacket.

"What the Fair Tax will do for America:

eliminate the income tax and the

dreaded IRS; jump start the U.S.

economy; bring businesses and jobs

back to the United States; and recapture

billions of untaxed dollars currently

lost to criminal and offshore businesses."

"What the Fair Tax will do for you:

allow you to keep 100% of your hard-

earned paycheck; let you choose to save

all the money you want .... and pay taxes

only when you spend it; eliminate

countless taxes you don't even know

you're paying; lower interest rates; and

make April 15th just another beautiful

spring day."

The authors provide ample citations from

the works of various economic think-tanks

to back each of those assertions.

Succinctly, the Fair Tax would replace all

current, federal, income-based taxes with

one, universal, federal "consumption

tax," on both goods and services, at the

retail level only. There would be no

exemptions whatsoever. The proposed,

"revenueinitialal," intial tax rate would

be 23%. Predictions are that the resulting

economic boom would make it possible

to lower that rate in short order.

As described so far, the Fair Tax would

be so regressive as not to stand a

snowball's-chance-in-Hell of passage.

Here's the solution.

At the first of every month, every

head-of-household (including single /

no dependents), irrespective of

income / net worth, would receive a

federal "pre-bate" check equal to the

taxes due on his / her appropriate

"poverty level spending" for the

coming month. To quote the authors,

"Poverty level spending' is, by definition,

that spending necessary for a household

of a given size to pay for its necessities.

It is adjusted every year by the

Department of Health and Human


For example, if the Fair Tax were

currently in effect, every family of four

would receive a monthly pre-bate of

$491.82 to cover the 23% tax on their

first $2,138.22 spent - their "poverty

level spending." All spending above that

level (that month) would have a net

federal tax cost of 23 cents-on-the-dollar -

be it for sneakers or a yacht.

While there would be a new, 23% federal

sales tax (collected by the states' sales

tax offices, by the way), studies predict
initial the intial rate could be lowered in

short order. Moreover, don't forget that

everyones' "take-home-pay" would be

their full, gross earnings under The

Fair Tax.

It is a most interesting, concise, and

thought provoking read that can be

knocked out in two or three sittings.

Suggested full retail is $24.95. There is

at least one copy available at the Camden

County Public Library.

I hope that you and your readers will

both enjoy the book and come to support

the bill.

Sandys reply:

Thanks it was very informative

as usual.

Bob Griggs explains millage rates:


I read your article at camdenganews

regarding the difficulties with the tax

digest. I want to raise an additional

concern. Does the Camden County

Commission set a mathematically-correct

millage rate? Over nine out of 10 taxing

authorities (by our researched estimation)

adopt arbitrary rates that have absolutely

no mathematical connection to their


As a result, the taxpayers are either

OVER-taxed or UNDER-taxed; it has to

be one or the other.

I invite you to visit

for information on the millage rate-- how

to calculate it correctly; jurisdictions that

are doing it wrong; and news about our

effort to enact a state law requiring taxing

and recommending authorities to adopt

mathematically correct millage rates.

You can also find an overview of the issue at .

Sandys reply:

Thank you for the information. Hopefully

people will read it and learn the game.

Knowledge is a powerful weapon. Thanks.

D. writes about unhired fireman:

With regards to the fireman who did not

feel like he was given a fair shot at a new

position with the County Fire Department,

I want to make sure the people of the

community understand ALL the facts

before deciding who is at fault.

First, I cannot explain why the Human

Resources Dept did not at least call and

say, "Sorry, you don't get an interview."

That is not a hard thing to do and I do

think should have been done.

Second, I think it is up to the Fire Chief

who he wants working in his department.

I know that I was not hired by anyone

other than my boss and I don't see who

else should have made the decision.

I must confess, I am a current firefighter

with Camden County Fire Rescue and

fully understand the reasoning behind

the hiring of the two who were hired to

fill the open positions.





CHOICES. The chief needs people helping

him he can trust and when a trustworthy

friend also happens to be the most

qualified and most deserving, that only

makes the decision even better.

The last of my rants has to do with the

person who had written the first blog

complaining about not getting granted

an interview. This county is not large

by no means and therefore all firemen

know each other and know the past

records of each other also. I am not

saying that any charges were ever filed,

but if you were to look in that person's

file from the county, you would see

reprimands and actions that I wouldn't

want in my department either. I don't

know if that was the basis for not being

granted an interview, but if I were chief,

the contents of a personnel file like that

would never warrant future employment

in any county position.

Sandys reply:

Once the Dept. of Labor declared the

firemen "Qualified," he should have

been granted an interview. After the

interview Human Resources and the

Fire Chief should have made a decision

and advised who was hired and said

thank you to the rest and that would

have been the end of it. It was there

call and they botched it. The second

comment that I have on the matter.

How is it that you know the contents

of the "unhired fireman" personnel

files? Personnel files are confidential.

That is totally unsatisfactory. Instead

of closing the issue you have just

made it worst.

Sandy Sez:

Thanks to all of you who took

the time to write us letters. I

think we together are finding

and sharing a voice for real

change in Camden County.

Thanks all, have a Great Camden

County weekend.

Sandy Feller

County Commissioner

District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


This article was written by Ed Marx
a longtime resident of Camden

Watch Out – If we the General
Public (general public being –
retirees, blue collar workers)
continue to sit back and
say nothing
we will get a airport
jammed down our throats.

Let me get you up to date. Our Mayor
says the relocation of the airport is
being well received – by who – certainly
not the general public that make up
90% of the voting power of this


Sea Island is giving the land
for the airport – why it will be for
the rich, not for the working class or
people on fixed income. I am told that
the FAA will give a chunk of the money.
Guess what the FAA gets its money
from the Federal Government.
The Federal Government gets its money
from US (no free lunch) – you don’t
have to be smart to figure this out.

This is the part that is going to hurt the
working people. The infrastructure, roads,
sewer, water will be paid for with our tax
money. This money we will be drained
upfront from our pocket book.

This airport clearly will be a drain of our
tax money and a drain from our thin and
thinner pocket books. Its hard for me to
understand why our elected officials

even consider this airport when we
have so many airports near here.
There are 8 airports less than one hour away.
The new airport location near Woodbine will
be a short 20 minute drive from Brunswick
Airport that was completely rebuilt to state
of the art status. Someone please explain
to me why we need a airport? It surely is
not from the money it generates, so it
must be for a select few to enjoy at
our expense.

With this said I ask for only one thing.
Let the people of Camden County have

a say in this, let us vote on this! This
maybe tough to get on the voting
ballot , because the people pushing
this airport know if it would be put up
for a vote the general public would
reject it by a hugh margin. Talk to
your elected officials demand that this
is put to a vote. Don’t let a few people
decide this issue, its to big.

Sandy Sez: This was written by a
long time Camden Resident. What
do you think? Write us at

Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Friday, September 09, 2005

IT'S TIME!!!!!

The Tax Commissioners Office must
be completely computerized, now.
Tuesdays meeting (September 6th)
the public hearing on setting the
millage rate was cancelled.
It seems that the revenue figure
for "Timber" was understated by some
This will effect the
counties setting the millage rate and
will require the Camden County School
District to also revisit the issue, i.e.
setting new date for public hearing
and re-advertising in Tribune and

What makes this episode so
remarkable is that it slipped by
not only the Tax Commissioner
but also the high priced financial
directors of the County and
School District.

To show you how bizarre the situation
is. The cash receipts from the taxpayers
are posted by hand on the deposit slips.
Then they are posted by hand to the
reconciliation given by the Tax
Commissioner to the Finance Director.

Additionally the Board of Assessors
computer cannot talk to the Tax
Commissioners limited computers, so
the reports on reassessments have to
be sent out to a consultant to translate
the information.

The time has come for the Tax Dept.
to come to the County Commission
and request the money necessary to
fully computerize the department.

What do you think? Contact us at

Les Dooley writes about school tax:
Dear Mr. Feller,
I wanted to find out some information
from you. As I understand it the schools
tell the county how much money they
need and the millage rate is adjusted to
meet their demands. Isn’t this taxation
without representation since we the
property owner’s have no chance to
vote on whether our taxes are raised?

In every other state that I have lived
in school taxes are put to a vote of
the registered voters. Thereby keeping
the school systems accountable for the
money they spend.

It seems the way things are here there
is no accountability for the money that
the school system gets. Is this taxation
system the same all through Georgia
and if so what would it take to change
the system. I have a hard time believing
that Dr. Proctor does anything close to
justify her $200,000 salary.

I recently heard about Mr. Berrys’
comments regarding our property taxes.
He doesn’t live in the real world. I’m sure
that money is no object to him since he
is a successful attorney and a bestselling
author. I even heard that our state
representative, Jeff Chapman suggested
that taxes in our county should be capped
for longtime residents such as they have
done on St. Simons Island that Mr. Berry
didn’t think that was a good idea didn’t
even know who he was.

In my opinion the county would be
better served if Mr. Berry stuck to writing
novels. I just see if things continue the way
they are people will be forced to move
because they can’t afford the taxes on
their property. I love the place I live and
would never sell it because I couldn’t
replace it.

In closing I know that you have been in
the taxpayers corner during your tenure
on the county commissioners, I hope
someone in the higher levels of government
will pay attention to the situation. Since
we have lived here we have paid school
tax and don’t even have any children.

Sandys response:
I was a School Board member in NY
where we voted on school budgets.
At first blush your concept makes
sense. However, given the twists and
turns of politics even voting on budget
doesn't work. Will write bigger
answer soon. Thanks for letter.
Comments anyone?

OJ writes about Durango:
Given the fact that there have not been
any new petroleum refineries for more
than 25 years primarily, by "not in my
back yard" environmentalists and the
fact that gasoline is not likely to fall
below $ 3.00 a gallon any time soon, I
would suggest that we actively pursue
having a refinery on the Mill Property.
The odor would be no worse than from

the Mill, hundreds and perhaps
thousands of jobs would be added, the
economic boom and tax income would
be tremendous for the entire area.
I can't imagine this being to difficult

because no one wants one and if the oil
companies find a favorable community
I would think they would be interested.

Just my $ .02 worth.

Sandys response:
We cetainly need rateables (Business).
However, I don't think that too many
will support your idea. What do you
folks out there think? Contact us at

N. writes about gas prices:
Driving my youngest to school this
morning I heard gas prices in
Jacksonville were $2.5? and up to
$2.61 a gallon for regular gas while
our's are in the $2.88 and up to over
$3.00 How come our gas prices are
so much more then FL?
Prices jumped over $0.40 in a matter
of hours just a day after the hurricane.
That seems to me like price gouging
since the stations couldn't have all just
gotten a new shipment of gas paying
higher prices.

Sandys response:
I haven't a clue. Any of you out there
know why? Write to

Sandy Sez:
Hurricane KATRINA is a natural
disaster that brings out the best
and the worst in people. I pray
that Camden County will show it
brightest most compassionate
face to the world during the
aftermath of this tragedy.

Have a Great Camden County
and our wounded but not down

Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Exclusive interview between Georgia House
Majority Leader Jerry Keen(R) and Editorial
Staff of Georgia Daily Digest (GDD)

Article reproduced with permission from

Jerry Keen: "People are sick and tired of being
taxed to death through local property taxes...."

GDD: You are proposing a
constitutional amendment that

would abolish the school portion
of property taxes and replace it
with a statewide sales tax. Why do
you think this is a good idea?

Keen: Look, if you read the newspapers
throughout this state, there is growing
unrest with property tax bills in
virtually every city and county. People
are sick and tired of being taxed to
death through local property taxes
which they have little control over.
Year after year, their property gets
reassessed; and they wind up with
higher tax bills. In some neighborhoods,
there is evidence homeowners continue
to get reappraised annually while
others are ignored for years. The
taxpayers are catching on that the
property tax is the most regressive
tax around. Public opinion polls in
Georgia and nationwide show it is
the most loathed tax. No other tax
even comes close. I believe consumers
would rather pay a few extra pennies
on purchases than have to set aside
several hundred dollars a month to
pay for property taxes. It’s just easier
for them to swallow. In addition, we
believe this move to finance schools
with a statewide sales tax will help
Georgia bring more equity to the
financing of education.

GDD: Even if it addresses issues of
equity, would it make it easier for
advocates to make a case for
additional revenue to address
education-funding adequacy?

Keen: No. We’re trying to beat that
at the pass. We have seen lawsuits
filed in dozens of states throughout
the country by well-funded liberal
outfits who believe that more money
translates into better education.
There is one here in Georgia by a
consortium of school systems seeking
a major tax hike. We know better.
From 1996 to 2004, property tax
revenues for education climbed 85
percent while enrollment statewide
jumped only 16 percent. And we are
still in the basement on SAT scores.
You can’t tell me more money makes
a difference. If it did, then during these
past eight years, we would have seen
significant gains in test scores across
all school districts and all grades.
We hope this effort will deter any court
from imposing a multi-billion dollar tax
increase on Georgia residents to help
fund poor public schools. This is our
effort to avoid that court-ordered tax
increase. We’ll get them the extra
funding they need in a more palatable

GDD: How would the Legislature
make a determination to raise or
lower the tax?

Keen: House Resolution 58 or the School
Property Tax Cut of 2006 is a proposed
constitutional amendment. It would
require 120 votes in the House and 2/3
vote of the Senate to be placed on the
November 2006 ballot. Then Georgia
voters would get a say on whether they
want to change this highly regressive
form of taxation – from one based on
holdings to one based on consumption.
If the Legislature gives the green light,
it then is in the hands of the voters.
I predict voters will leap at the chance
to lower their tax bills – particularly by
such an enormous amount. Remember,
in some counties, permanently removing
school property taxes will result in as
much as a 70 percent decrease in annual
tax bills.

GDD: Why would a parent in either
a poorer or wealthier county
support this proposal?

Keen: In a wealthy district, land values
are high; and homeowners pay dearly to
fund their public schools. This way their
schools would be funded with a sales tax
of no more than 3 cents. It might even be
2 cents before the General Assembly is
done debating this. In rural counties, we
will use any extra sales tax revenue
generated statewide to help increase the
per-pupil funding.

GDD: This would appear to
significantly transfer some of the
control of schools from Georgia
communities to the state Capitol.
Is this one of the objectives?

Keen: You know, you hear school boards
rallying against this idea because they
claim it takes away their control. It does
strip them of the power to ever levy taxes
again. But that’s a good thing. They still
will have complete local control of how
they spend their money. Instead of their
revenue checks coming from the local
tax commissioner, they will come from
the Georgia Revenue Commissioner.
That doesn’t sound like much of a loss
of control to me. The school boards
never collected their own tax revenue
anyway. I prefer to look at it this way,
with no need for a staff to worry about
finance, the school systems can instead
focus on academics. That’s what their
primary focus should always be.

GDD: This would raise the sales
tax to 10 or 11 percent in some
counties if the proposal should
reach it maximum 3-cent cap.
Won’t this just compound the
regressive nature of sales taxes
on Georgia’s citizens?

Keen: Absolutely not. That’s where the
big misconception comes into play.
Property taxes are more regressive.
In so many places, the poor are in
danger of losing their homes because
of rising tax bills. So are the middle
class and new homeowners. We can
control our spending habits, and a
couple of extra pennies here and there
are easier to swallow than property
tax bills that amount to thousands
of dollars. We have heard stories of
citizens banding together in places
like Oakhurst in DeKalb County to
have garage sales to help pay
property taxes for the disabled
and elderly. No one wants to lose
their home, and I bet you any of
these poor folks would tell you
they’d prefer a few pennies at
the grocery store to a whopper
of a tax bill every year.

GDD: With the exception of
Atlanta, nearly every other
Georgia population center is near
the border of another state. Why
wouldn’t most Georgians take the
property tax break and then
drive across the border or use the
Internet to make large purchases
for sales tax savings?

Keen: My instincts tell me something
different. I imagine if a young couple
is looking for a new home, and they
can purchase a house that is 25 percent
larger in Augusta, for example, because
of such a huge reduction in property
taxes, they’ll move to Georgia. That’s
good for Georgia’s economy. They may
drive across the state line to shop for
big-ticket items. But when you are
pressed for time, making the weekly
grocery store run for example, I doubt
you are going to drive far to save a
few pennies. I’d certainly bet on that
with the price of gas these days.

GDD: Property taxes are thought
to be relatively stable during
volatile economic times while sale
tax collections can be a roller
coaster. How would this proposal
address the volatility of sales taxes?

Keen: I’d say that’s another
misconception. A recent study by
a professor at Georgia State
University shows that during the past
30 years, sales tax collections
statewide have averaged 9 percent
annually. I can’t imagine any school
district legitimately needing more
than a 9 percent annual increase in
their budget. Besides, we will have a
provision in the legislation to require
a state education reserve just in case
of a catastrophic economic downturn.

GDD: Tell us about an initiative
you have planned for the 2006
Legislative session that would
crack down on sex offenders.

Keen: As long as I’m Majority Leader,
I never want to see Georgia have the
problems we’ve seen in places like
Florida where sex offenders slip through
the cracks and continue to molest
children. We are drafting legislation
that will be a zero tolerance policy for
sex offenders. You may know that these
are some of our most hardened
criminals. They are sick and have a
lifetime problem that usually is
incurable. For that reason, we will
require lifetime monitoring with
ankle bracelets, strengthen sentencing
and increase the penalties so they
cannot get near schools or other
places where children congregate.
This legislation will probably make
Georgia one of the toughest in the
nation on sex offenders. No sex
offender is ever going to want to
live here. I’d be mighty happy to
see that happen.

GDD: After 134 years in the
wilderness, what’s it like now
that the Republicans are in
charge? Is it all you thought it
would be?

Keen: These are exciting and
hectic days down at the state
Capitol. Governing is very, very
different than being in the Minority.
During our first legislative session,
we accomplished much more than
critics ever dreamed from civil
justice reform, to corporate tax
cuts, redistricting congressional
maps, improvements to education,
to changes in insurance regulations
and a 24-hour waiting period to
get an abortion. We have much
more to do in the coming years
especially in the areas of health
care and illegal immigration.
Remember, Republicans and
conservatives have been out of
power for a very long time. We
couldn’t even get a hearing on
our legislation. We are governing
much differently. We are trying
to be fair to the minority party and
treat them with respect. But we
intend to carry out an agenda that
makes the state safer for Georgians,
cuts taxes, improves education and
brings a more business-like approach
to governing. Each day is a new
challenge, and we’re all still running
on adrenaline.

Sandy Sez:
After schools can the County
Commissions be next? I hope so!

County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"

Friday, September 02, 2005


Impact Fees can be our salvation.
Please read the following from the
official online publication of the
Florida Home Builders Association.

Osceola County Wins Impact Fee Challenge
A circuit judge on August 6th struck
down the HBA of Metro Orlando's and
Florida Home Builders Association's
challenge to Osceola County's school
impact fee - the highest in the state.
The HBA/FHBA lawsuit alleged that
the method used by Osceola County
School District consultants was flawed
and had never been used elsewhere in
Florida. Further, it claimed this
overcharged new-home buyers by
failing to give them credit for a
capital improvement tax they also
would pay. But in his 20-page ruling,
Circuit Judge R. James Stroker
dismissed those arguments. He said
that while a fee must directly benefit
those who pay it, that is not required
of a tax. He also said the method used
to calculate the impact fee was
"reasonable and not arbitrary."
Stroker ruled that the county had met
a twofold test in proving that its higher
fee was justified. First, there must be a
reasonable connection between the
anticipated need for new schools and
the growth generated by new development.
Second, he said, there must be a similar
connection between the spending of
impact-fee revenue and a benefit to the
home buyers who ultimately pay the fee.
The judge ruled that the county's impact
fee ordinance passed both parts of that test.
In 2004, Osceola County increased its
school impact fee by 243 percent to
$9,708 for a single-family home.

Imagine if we (as part of the new
Master Plan) Implemented a version
of the above. We wouldn't have to
raise taxes for years to come.
Denise R. Taylor writes about C.

I only wish C. had allowed name to be
printed so that I could have given a
Proper salutation.

Those of Camden County who know me or
has come in contact with me have a good
since of who I am. All others, such as
yourself, base your opinion of me on the
distortion of others or the misinterpretation
of what I write. Therefore let me give you
a synopsis.

Everything that I have written/said is
100% true. There isn't one elected/
appointed official that can refute any of
what I have informed the taxpayers of.

One thing that those who know me
"The System" understand is I am
absolutely right. And if those who are in
a position don't take their heads out of
the sand our community will continue
to suffer. My only purpose is to make
things better. We have an awesome
opportunity here in Camden County.
But we must rearrange and get our house
in order so that we can move forward
and take advantage of the opportunities
before us.

We are in a very critical season and
this is our opportunity to make Camden
County path straight. We need to
immediately correct the problems in our
County Government. This will set the
course straight.

Secondly, we need to initiate serious
plans for improvement in the following

* Comprehensive Master Plan

* Diversity in all areas of

* Per Capita Income Gap

* Affordable Housing

* Student Achievement

* Lowering the Dropout Rate

* Taxes

We must come together as a community.
We all need each other. The BRAC
Commission just told us that. We cannot
continue with things the way that they are.

But if people who are not informed of
all of the facts attack the messenger then
how do we correct and move forward?
We have been told basically by the world
"Get your house in order." All I want is
for us to do that. You can't allow illegal
deals that are so obvious; a taxpayer
realizes it, to continue taking place.
You cannot allow your County Government
to misappropriate Federal money and
sweep it under the carpet. These are
examples of what we must all work to

So if I offend you and others that have
bountiful similarities with you, by
working for FREE for the betterment
of the community in which I live. I refuse
to apologize! Psalms 78:72

Robert G. Becker writes accidents:

I keep observing accidents at the entrance

to Wal-Mart on GA. 40, especially east

bound. For one thing many people who

use the Murphy gasoline station like to

make turns at this intersection, when

there is no turn lane. They stop there

to make a turn, causing traffic moving

even at low speeds let alone at the speed

limit to stop in their lane, without

warning in many cases. Both the Cities

of Kingsland and St. Marys should ask

DOT to put up a "No turn" sign there

and police it. This should stop some

of the accidents. These people are a

danger to themselves and others.

Especially whn it is wet. There is a turn

lane at the light, a short distance ahead,

use it. No one likes to see an accident,

especially those involved. It's

dangerous enough out there. Use

common sense.

Sandy Sez:
Let us all bow our heads and pray for

the victims of KATRINA. There but for

the Grace of God go you and I. Open

your hearts and be generous to whatever

charity will benefit our neighbors.

Sandy Feller
County Commissioner
District 4

"Working for the future without forgetting the past"