We should treat timber as a valuable commodity
This letter is for the attention of the taxpayers of Glascock County. Recently, the subject of timber harvesting and the county’s requirements for such has been addressed in a comment in the Soap Box section of this newspaper. This is a subject that needs more attention than most taxpayers are aware.
To begin, I would like to say that it is my opinion that no elected officials have intentionally made decisions that would harm the very economically important timber industry in our county. The problem appears to be the absolute power that has been given to unelected individuals that do not consider the importance of this industry to county and landowner revenues. For some unknown reason, some people see logging as some kind of evil. The fact is that this is one of the few truly renewable resources that we have in this country. This country owes a debt to this industry for a lot that we take for granted every day.
Now we need to look at the economic facts involved in wood production. One misconception is that everyone involved is getting rich. This is far from this case. To begin with, the landowner pays taxes for 15-30 years without any revenue at all according to their individual management practices, while taking the risk of total or partial loss due to severe weather, fire and or pests. When the decision to harvest timber is made, the landowner then must pay approximately $28 dollars for every $1,000 of revenue to the county. This tax, known as the timber tax, generated $160,748.55 for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 combined. It would be hard to convince any reasonable person that the county has incurred anywhere near this amount for road maintenance and repair necessary directly from logging operations.
Now the unintended consequences. First, it is indisputable that any expenses incurred due to county demands is absorbed by the landowner. Keep in mind that the tax due the county is determined by what the landowner receives for his timber. Any added expenses deducted from the landowners’ revenue reduces immediately the amount due the county.
Just as important are the effects the demands and restrictions placed on the harvesters have on competition among buyers. Timber buying is very competitive. When harmful and unnecessary demands are placed on harvesting and transporting practices, it is a fact that some very reputable buyers are very hesitant to bid. When competition is reduced, the price given for timber falls also. This reduces the tax for the county.
I must admit that there are cases of unreasonable damage to roads due to timber transport and that there is a need for some oversight, but this should be done with reason and common sense, keeping in mind who is paying the bills. The timber industry is kind of like the goose that lays the golden egg, the goose should be nurtured and appreciated not placed on a diet.
Timber production and harvesting have many more indirect economic benefits but here I wanted to draw attention to those that have the most impact on local property taxes. Considering the revenue to the county from timber producers that all residents benefit from would lead one to think that timber is a valuable commodity to the county and should be treated as such. In today’s political environment if facts can’t be disputed or one just plain disagrees without reason, the messenger is what’s attacked. On this important issue that is a risk I must take.
and Timber Producer
Bowers thanks Wadley P.D. and Jefferson Hospital
On Aug. 1, I walked into a room in my house and suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. It was frightening, I coughed and coughed and couldn’t catch my breath.
So I called Wadley P.D. where my son-in-law is the police chief.
Wesley (Lewis) came immediately and brought another patrol car. He could see that I couldn’t breathe and he picked me up and carried me to the car and drove me to Jefferson Hospital himself.
Once I was at the emergency room, I saw Dr. Jennifer Tanner. She examined me and ended up calling the lifebird and I was transported to Doctors Hospital in Augusta.
I was in the hospital there for five days.
I just wanted to take the time to publicly thank everyone who did so much to take care of me during my time of need. Every time I have ever used Jefferson Hospital the staff and care I have received there have been wonderful.
We need Jefferson Hospital. It’s right here for us so that we do not have to go far to see professionals who really care about us. They save lives.
I want to thank Dr. Tanner who was such a blessing to me and Wesley and Wadley Police Department for all they do.
Thank you, thank you all.