Below is some of what I told the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in this morning’s meeting. I don’t always think well on my feet (unless I’m in a particularly snarky mood – then you’d better watch out), so it helps to gather my thoughts in writing.
My dog didn’t get his usual early-morning walk today.
Because I overslept and there wasn’t time – if I wanted to be at the meeting this morning.
Why did I oversleep?
Because I shut off my alarm when it woke me up, and I went back to sleep.
Why’d I shut off my alarm?
I was tired because I stayed up too late and didn’t get enough sleep.
Why’d I stay up too late?
My husband and I went out to dinner, and it was well after 10:00 PM by the time we left the restaurant.
Why’d we go out so late?
Because we wanted to be at our grandson’s ball game.
It’s pretty easy to see, if you look, how one choice impacts another. How choosing differently at any point along the way could have altered the final outcome. For example, had I gotten up on time despite being very tired, my dog would have had his morning walk. Sometimes the consequences of our choices are small, and sometimes they’re larger, but I have yet to see a choice that is without consequence.
We as individuals and as a group must make choices every day. Constantly. We can’t necessarily avoid the consequences of taking action by choosing to do nothing, because inaction, too, has consequences. If we care about making the best choice – the one with the least negative and most positive outcome – we will seek information that sheds light on the issue from every angle that is reasonably possible.
The time and thought we invest in informing a decision ought to be in direct proportion to its impact. Regardless of the size of the matter at hand, failing to adequately consider one or more of the factors affecting the issue is unlikely to produce the best decision or the best outcome. In the case of something as large as the Foxhall Resort, the impact of inadequate or imbalanced information could be substantial. I fear the Board has not given adequate consideration, among other factors, to the following:
I had to quit writing and get in the shower if I wanted to make the meeting, but I hadn’t managed to get to my point, which was kind of important. So once I arrived at “Citizens Hall” (that name always makes me cringe a little), while waiting for the meeting to start I used my phone to add these notes to myself, and tried my best to wing it when I had the mic:
public money supporting one business but not another
committing a group of people in financial turmoil to pick up the pieces if this fails. 14+ pages of foreclosures
Merrill’s track record. evidence of colossal failures easily found.
I forgot to say something about the demise of two other conference venues in the county, due at least in part to the new City of Douglasville conference center. And I meant to say something about the affect a new Foxhall conference center would have on the Douglasville conference center. But I had to think and speak quickly, and I forgot. I probably did reach them at least a little bit. I heard from others who told me they’d e-mailed the board after reading about the issue yesterday, and I’m sure that helped. When the meeting progressed to the agenda item for the Foxhall resolution there was a lot of talk from the Commissioners as well as the Chairman about how this wasn’t an actual commitment of public funds, we could back out at any time, blah blah blah…
I also had some interesting conversations after the meeting that I’d like to share, but that’ll be another post. Nothing really juicy – just things you should know if you live here in Douglas.
So, as we expected they might, the Board passed the resolution unanimously. There was, fortunately, the addition of a stipulation to hold a public meeting before they commit to doing anything. So all of you Douglas Countians have a shot at influencing the Board’s final decision. I strongly suggest you avail yourselves of that opportunity then, as well as using the time in the interim to let them know how you feel.
Here, in its entirety, is the resolution that was passed:
RESOLUTION OF THE
DOUGLAS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CONCERNING FOXHALL RESORT AND SPORTING CLUB
WHEREAS, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners has routinely relied on the Development Authority of Douglas County (the “Authority”) as the economic development agent for the County in light of its mission to encourage the development of industry, commerce, trade, and tourism in Douglas County; and
WHEREAS, the Authority has investigated the viability of the project known as the 350 room Westin Resort and Conference Center and Golf Course located in the 1100 acre Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club in southwest Douglas County (the “Foxhall Project”); and
WHEREAS, following its extensive investigation the Authority unanimously recommends that the County provide financing for public improvements at the Foxhall Project, including a conference center, exhibition hall, and certain infrastructure improvements (the “Public Foxhall Project Improvements”), contingent upon the Foxhall Project securing approximately $100 Million in debt and equity to fund the remainder of the project; and
WHEREAS, the County and the Authority believe that public-private undertakings successfully encourage new and sustained investment by the private sector in Douglas County, resulting in the creation of jobs, the promotion of industry, commerce, trade and tourism, and a significant increase in the overall tax digest of the County; and
WHEREAS, the County and the Development Authority agree that the development of the Foxhall Project in the Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club is such an activity.
NOW, THEREFORE, it is RESOLVED by the DOUGLAS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS that the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners is authorized to initiate discussions with the Development Authority for the purpose of the development of a potential financing structure for the Public Foxhall Improvements.
It is further RESOLVED that a representative be appointed by the County Commission Chairman and same is directed to perform appropriate due diligence concerning the feasibility and financial structuring options for the Public Foxhall Improvements, and to prepare a preliminary draft of an intergovernmental agreement between the Commission and the Authority to accomplish the potential financing of the Public Foxhall Improvements.
It is further RESOLVED that the adoption of this Resolution shall not create binding responsibilities upon the County concerning the Foxhall Project until further action is determined by the Board of Commissioners in a public meeting, and no one should rely on the possibility that the County will back public financing in part or whole.
SO RESOLVED this ______ day of October, 2013.
DOUGLAS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Tom Worthan, Chair
Henry Mitchell, III, District I
Michael Mulcare, District III
Ann Jones Guider, District IV
Kelly Robinson, District II
Lisa Watson, County Clerk