If you turn on the evening news or read any regional or national newspaper you will see the debate playing out in our country everyday on what the role of government should be.
In framing the constitution, men like James Madison Jr., drafted the first 10 amendments that are known as the Bill of Rights.
The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
With our national debt at an alarming level and rising daily, everyone agrees that something must be done.
Unlike the national government, our state constitution mandates that the legislatures present the governor a balanced budget each year. Our state has had struggles of its own, but has managed to make some difficult decisions in order to live within its means.
Dawson County, like the state, must adopt a balanced budget annually.
Over the past three years, the county has reduced the budget by nearly 20 percent. As a result, the county has become more efficient and has been able to maintain the high level of service our citizens have come to expect.
We are anticipating for the 2012 budget an additional 1.3 million of expenses will need to be cut. This is primarily due to the devaluation of property in the county.
The board of commissioners is dedicated to achieving the cuts and not raising the millage rate and, therefore, the taxes on the citizens.
The economy has forced all levels of government to question what role it should play in our lives and how much citizens are willing to pay for services provided by the government.
In years past, neighbors, churches and communities took care of each other and filled the role that many of our government programs have taken on over the past few decades.
In Dawson County we are fortunate to have many wonderful, charitable organizations that continue to step up and provide a wide variety of services to the community.
Two organizations that I have had personal experience with are the RIC Rack and the Dawson County Humane Society.
The RIC Rack is located on Hwy. 9 North at Perimeter Road, just inside the City of Dawsonville. It offers food and discounted clothing for families that are deemed in need by DFACS or another similar entity.
Currently, the organization provides food for more than 400 families a month and gives clothes to the families on a case-by-case basis.
In the month of February alone, RIC Rack gave away more than 8,000 pounds of food.
The RIC Rack receives no funding or other assistance from the county government, but has set up an organization that is self-sufficient. It accepts donations of clothes, furniture, household goods and other items from the public. It then sells these items for a reasonable price in its thrift store to the general public.
The money made from the sales is then used to purchase food and provide for the needy of Dawson County. The store is open six days a week and provides food on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays to those that have been referred.
The Dawson County Humane Society is another organization that has gained my personal support and admiration over the past year.
They have a dedicated board under the fine leadership of Carolyn Bowen and their dedication and commitment to animals continues to impress me. The society recently opened a new puppy complex and a surgical unit. This was paid for by donations from the community and much of the work was performed by volunteers.
The county currently contracts with the local humane society to house the dogs and cats that are picked up by our animal control officers.
The county and the humane society negotiated a multi-year contract and the value the county receives, in my opinion, is far better than that of our neighboring counties.
In 2010 the shelter took in 735 dogs and 616 cats. They found homes through their adoption program for 401 dogs and 245 cats. They continue to find ways to do more and are providing a great service to both the animals and the residents of our community.
Consider giving a monetary contribution or donating your time to help the RIC Rack and the humane society. They are two examples that we can look to where the community, not the government, is filling a much-needed role for the less fortunate in Dawson County.
To give of your time or financial resources to these organizations, can contact them by calling the RIC Rack at (706) 265-1371 and the Dawson County Humane Society at (706) 265-9160.
County Manager Kevin Tanner can be reached at (706) 344-3501 or ktanner@-dawsoncounty.org.