Citizens of McDuffie County now have an opportunity to enlighten their state and local leaders. A Communities of Opportunity Town Hall Meeting will be held for officials to determine if tax money is being properly utilized to provide the community with the resources and tools necessary for families and businesses to prosper.
"I hope people will come and participate, and tell them what they feel is important to this community and what they would like to see happen," said Joyce Blevins, the director of the East Central Georgia Workforce Development Center in Thomson. "That would probably help the leaders in the community as well as state agents. Having been there, sometimes you are sort of in the dark as far as what the general public wants."
The meeting is part of an initiative by the Georgia Rural Development Council, the University of Georgia's Fanning Institute and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
The basis of the initiative comes from a study on the persistence of poverty in the South published by the University of Georgia in 2001. According to Matt Bishop, a service faculty member of the Fanning Institute, a lot of money has been invested in community and economic development across the state, and there are still counties with high poverty rates. Mr. Bishop said Communities of Opportunity is addressing the question of how well the public investment of tax dollars has been transformed into "the kinds of community and economic vitality that we had hoped for."
"It has in certain communities," Mr. Bishop said. "There are certainly examples of places in the state where those public investments have paid off, and I think Thomson-McDuffie County would be one of those places."
The initiative is conducting town hall meetings in each county in the CSRA. A letter of invitation was sent to all elected officials and those in development.
"However, we are trying to get as many citizens and regular folks to the meeting as possible," Mr. Bishop said. "It is not a new program, it's just a new initiative that is taking a look at some of the state's programs and the public policies that are a part of that, and asking hard questions about what the state can do to make that more efficient and effective."
The town hall meeting will be from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16, at the Depot in Thomson.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: A town hall meeting for citizens and leaders of McDuffie County, sponsored by Communities of Opportunity.
WHEN: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16
WHERE: The Depot
MORE INFO: The types of questions asked at the meeting will be: What advice do you have for us as we move forward? Is your community a good place to live, as opposed to a good place to earn a living?