HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council briefly convened for their regular monthly session on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at which a resolution for a “Climate Fee and Dividend Resolution” proposal awaited confirmation or denial.
Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales listed the resolution on the agenda, following a July 30 presentation by local environmentalist Vernon Dixon, proposing the Citizens’ Climate Lobby plan to press U.S. Congress for taxation on fossil fuel producers, in an attempt to lessen the effects of, what he considers, the cause of climate change.
The resolution was rejected by city council in a 4-1 decision, upon discussion, that killed the resolution on the floor.*
The sole proponent of the resolution was Councilwoman Anne Mitchell, who presented a proposal at the previous work session to impose a citywide ban-fee on plastic bags.
“I think we’ve got to do something,” Mitchell said, regarding the climate change resolution, “I’m not sure that this is the something that we’ve got to do, and I do not think, overall, that it’s going to be well-received, here or a lot of other places, but I would be for it because it’s a start.”
Councilwoman Amy Barrett was next to offer input. “I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not for it,” Barrett expressed, “I feel that if you tax big corporate, as we all know, it all falls back on the consumer. When have you ever given the government money and they give it back to us? I believe in educating people, and making a difference, and I believe in being responsible, but I don’t believe that this is what we, or the city, or the path the people that elected me want me to take.”
“I’m just like Amy (Barrett), you know,” Councilwoman Nancy Noblet agreed, “People voted me in, and if we money people to death, we’re not going to have a city…I mean, gas is high enough.”
Councilman Kris Berrong echoed similar thoughts, stating that he has received opposition to the resolution from the public at his barbershop business. “Like Amy (Barrett) said, the ones who elected me are not a big fan of this right now. We’re all wanting to do better, and like Amy said, education is key, and this isn’t necessarily what we’re looking for right now.”
Councilwoman Patsy Owens simply objected “no” to the resolution.
A Hiawassee Council session to discuss the annual budget, “line-by-line”, was scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
The council unanimously approved a motion to add Mayor Ordiales, City Clerk Bonnie Kendrick, and Police Chief Paul Smith to a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) bank account for wastewater management. FYN requested additional information from City Hall, and intends to report on the project.
Additional coverage of the Aug. 7 council session, including the controversial ethics board decision, is available on FYN.