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New Columbus mayor, council to be sworn in Monday

Columbus’ new city leaders will have to decide what to do about the aging Government Center downtown.
Columbus’ new city leaders will have to decide what to do about the aging Government Center downtown.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end, and it’s Monday Mail.

A new day

It’s morning in America, or at least here in Columbus, where some new leaders are to be sworn in.

Mayor Berry “Skip” Henderson will be installed as mayor during an installation ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday in the council chambers upstairs at the City Service Center off Macon Road, where Councilors Jerry “Pops” Barnes of District 1, Bruce Huff of District 3, Charmaine Crabb of District 5, Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson of District 7 and Judy Thomas of citywide Post 9 also will be installed.

Next year the even-numbered council posts come up for election.

It’s a good thing council meets in midtown, because if it still met downtown at the Government Center, it would have a hard time finding an available room and an elevator to get there.

Eventually city leaders will have to decide what to do about that – whether to demolish the Government Center and build something new, or to strip it to the shell and rebuild the interior with some additions, or to disperse offices to other sites or to adopt some hybrid of those options.

Should the chosen option be among the more expensive – if they’re not all so – then the council has to decide how to pay for it. That usually means deciding whether to ask voters for another sales tax, which if approved would maintain the overall sales tax rate at 8 percent, after a 1 percent school district tax expires.

We could just let the tax fall back to 7 percent, like it used to be. It’s a regressive tax from which food is not exempt, locally, and you can’t count on it to maintain its revenue stream if the economy goes bad.

Tampax tax

Speaking of sales taxes, area state Rep. Debbie Buckner has introduced a bill to exempt menstrual products from the 4 percent state sales tax (local sales taxes still would apply).

Were that to pass the male-dominated General Assembly, through some groundswell of support, Georgia would join eight other states with similar exemptions.

The measure is designated House Bill 8.

Having just recently written about how many diapers it takes to rear a child, I’m thinking maybe those should be tax-exempt, too.

I once had romantic notions about having children, but those further dissipated last year when I was interviewing some people for a story about a charity diaper drive, for needy mothers, and naively I asked, “So, how often do you have to change a baby?”

“Seven or eight times a day,” they said.

And I thought, “Oh no. No no no no no. Not even. No. No way.”

So remaining childless has worked out well. So far.

Unchecked mail

The day after I wrote about the diaper charity, telling the story of a young mother who was stranded in Albany when she bought diapers instead of gas, I got an email from Jerry Flemings:

First of all why would anyone go off and not have money to get back home? Has never happened to me although I went through some tough times.

Secondly just where does she work? If she is 21 years old she should certainly be more responsible and have a job to take care of her baby.

Third Where is the baby’s daddy? He who helped her get her baby should help with the costs of raising the child.

Fourth Disposable diapers are a disaster to our landfills. We used cloth diapers with both our children and washed them ourselves. I think today young people are just to damn lazy to do what is needed. As for the cost a little water and soap which is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying disposable diapers.

I’m sorry but I would not donate money to a cause like this. She needs to grow up and look after herself and her baby.

Dear Jerry:

I’ll warn the diaper drive not to expect your check.