Your opinion: April 25, 2018

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sumter County not tax-friendly retirement community
Welcome Baby Boomers to Sumter County, Georgia. A Tax-Friendly Retirement Community…. Not True!
What can our Sumter County Commissioners do to improve our economy? What is it that other states and communities in the southeast do that brings in revenue? For one thing they cater to retired Baby Boomers that are now retiring by the hundreds every day. Why aren’t retiring Baby Boomers looking at Sumter County, Georgia? Because Sumter County, Georgia does not offer property tax reductions to senior citizens 65 years old and older. Not all retired people want to live on the beach. What they do want is warm summers and mild winters without snow and ice. What Baby Boomers want is to retire where they can camp, golf, hunt, fish and enjoy their golden years. Sumter County, Georgia offers all this and so much more. What Sumter County, Georgia doesn’t offer is a tax incentive for Baby Boomers.
Sumter County offers the perfect location to retire. We are a small community located only a short drive from Macon and Columbus. Highway 19 makes for a great ride to Atlanta. To the south we are close to Panama City Beach and Daytona Beach, Florida. If Sumter County were to offer large property tax reductions or do away with property tax altogether for retired Baby Boomers 65 years and older, Baby Boomers would flock to Sumter County in droves. The reduction in property tax for seniors would result in new upgrade housing communities. The new housing boom would create new jobs for local contractors. The increase in the senior population would benefit current merchants, doctors, lawyers and bring new business to Sumter County. The tax revenue created by Baby Boomers would be much greater than the property tax reduction for senior citizens.
I have lived in Sumter County, Georgia for the past 46 years. In the past 46 years I have witnessed the crime rate increase many times over, yet the population continues to drop. Unemployment continues to rise and our young people leave for more prosperous communities. It is my humble opinion that if Sumter County leaders don’t make positive decisions to move this county forward, we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes that continue to drive Sumter County headlong into poverty. If this continues, I fear that Sumter County will soon become a mostly low income entitlement community filled with poor and helpless senior citizens and young unemployed gangsters. If things don’t change our institutions of higher learning and our wonderful medical facilities would also be doomed.
Now is the time for change. Not next week, not next month and not next year … Now! Our current leaders are capable of making the changes that are needed; changes that are needed to save Sumter County and to move Sumter County forward. I am asking my fellow citizens to please use this wonderful tool called social media to be vocal. Please share your thoughts and ideas as to how you think the economy of Sumter County can be improved. Attend your city and county commissioners meetings. Show your support for change. Speak your mind, but please do it with respect and courtesy. Always remember that the louder and ruder you are, the more difficult you are to be understood. My grandfather once told me, “Never argue with an idiot in public. Spectators may not know the difference.”
If you think lower property taxes for senior citizens 65 years and older are a good idea; and, if you believe lower property taxes for senior citizens will bring new blood and greater revenue to Sumter County, then please tell our elected officials. I have stated why I think this will work. If you don’t agree, then say that too, but please state your thoughts as to why you think it wouldn’t work.
Chuck Hanks