Fulton should stay together
To the editor:
The state legislators from North Fulton have proposed breaking away from Fulton County to form their own Milton County under House Resolution 21, claiming that Fulton County is mismanaged and overtaxed.
I recently devoted two weeks toward researching the services offered by Fulton County.
I interviewed Zachary Williams, Fulton County manager; Superior Court Chief Judge Doris Downs; Burt Manning, chief appraiser of the Board of Assessors; John Szabo, director of libraries; Dr. Steve Katkowsky (since relocated), director of health and wellness; and Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand.
I found each of those managers and heads of departments to be highly professional with a vision of constantly improving services while at the same time reducing their costs of operations.
Williams was proud to inform me that the county is adopting performance-based metrics to weed out the underperforming employees and reward the overperforming employees.
Downs was equally proud of her Drug Court, which counsels first-time, minor offenders instead of sending them off to jail.
Szabo was justifiably proud of his state-of-the-art, 22,000-square-foot branch libraries, replacing the small, outmoded branches.
Manning informed me that last year more than 100,000 homeowners were reassessed at lower assessments, while this year there will be significantly more. Ferdinand was beaming when he informed me of a 98 percent tax collection rate.
Taxwise, Fulton County — with 98 percent incorporated — could significantly reduce its millage by outsourcing county services and cutting the 6,287 employees by 30 percent to 40 percent.
The Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation feels that the North Fulton taxpayers could achieve their objectives without the need to break up Fulton County. Maintaining the unity of Fulton County’s 77-year tradition could be far more productive than divisiveness.
John S. Sherman, president
Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation
Global warming isn’t man-made
To the editor:
The Second International Conference on Climate Change in New York concluded March 10, and a brief summary of the findings follows:
• The current global temperature rise since the end of the Little Ice Age (1850) is normal and part of the natural cycles in global temperature that has occurred for thousands of years.
• Carbon dioxide produced by human activity has negligible influence on climate or global warming.
• Computer models for predicting future global warming are inaccurate and should not be used for decision-making.
• Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide has beneficial effects on plant growth and food supply.
• The greatest threat to humans is the attempt to control global temperatures by restricting the use of energy sources that produce carbon dioxide.
The last item deserves particular attention because programs to restrict the use of fossil fuels and tax production of carbon dioxide will have devastating effects on those with lower incomes in the United States and other industrialized nations. Residents of undeveloped nations, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, will be doomed to meager lifestyles because their only hope for improvement lies in the availability of abundant and economical energy resources.
James H. Rust
professor of nuclear engineering, Georgia Tech