Letters to the Editor

Freeze vote needs more light

Proponents of thawing the property tax freeze have repeatedly proclaimed the benefits of doing so without, to my knowledge (unless I missed it), ever providing the voters with any specific numbers on how much added revenue will come to the city, and how they plan to manage that revenue.

Many opponents of the thaw have told me they believe that unlimited revenue increase would just give the city unlimited spending opportunity. Are there budgeted plans for a revenue increase? If there turns out to be a surplus, would that be spent or would it be applied to lowering taxes?

I think proponents would be well served by providing that information if they expect voters to support their proposal. Don't ask voters to decide in the dark.

Richard Nurnberg, Columbus

Stifling progress

As a native of Columbus and business owner, I’ve watched the climate change and the city develop. Currently, I chair the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. This work has afforded me the opportunity to experience firsthand the potential Columbus has for continued growth and development reflective of the second largest city in our state. I also have seen the challenges in providing the opportunities for continued growth and development, and to simply provide the current level of services our community expects.

Our property tax freeze is strangling our economic growth, taxing our citizens in a disparate manner and preventing our city from having the resources it needs. We need a fair tax system that applies the same to everyone and that encourages growth and opportunity. Our current tax structure has us directed toward further decline in services, and prohibits any further growth and hope for continued competitiveness as a progressive community.

The Chamber Board of Directors and I, personally, support the “Thaw the Freeze” initiative that will help turn the tide and help chart our course for generations to come. With this thaw the city not only can turn toward, but exceed our own expectations with our regional partnerships, Fort Benning, our Fortune 50 and 500 companies and many new businesses and residents that would follow. In a recent study of the strategic planning on Fort Benning, an independent company (Matrix Group) came across Columbus current property tax structure and labeled it “A complete disaster.”

Let’s make our community a better community! Join us on November 8 to vote Yes! “Thaw the Freeze.”

Our community deserves better!

Cedric Hill, Columbus

True gift of life

Body donation for research and education at medical schools improves medical knowledge in many ways. It is an act of unconditional love, compassion, and selfless sacrifice for others.

When you donate your body, you contribute to the advancement of treatments for many health conditions. Donated bodies are used in medical schools to teach human anatomy and to test prosthetics and new robotic surgery techniques. Body donors make a positive impact on generations to come. “Even in death do we serve life.”

Body donation improves medical knowledge of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hip and knee injuries, and many more.

Last year the University of Minnesota received more than 550 donated bodies and the State University of New York at Buffalo received 600. ScienceCare, a national tissue bank, now receives 5,000 donated bodies every year.

The legal right for choosing body donation is governed by the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) adopted so far by 20 states. Hopefully it will be adopted by all states. There are body donation programs all over the country. I am a body donor.

Salman Elawad, Phenix City

Finest, kindest care

Residents of the Peach State should feel proud to learn that Georgia Aquarium, one of the most popular and cherished attractions in the region, achieved welfare certification under American Humane’s global Humane Conservation program for zoos and aquariums — becoming only the fifth in a group of elite institutions worldwide to earn the prestigious seal of approval.

The Humane Conservation program, launched in June, is an ambitious, first-of-its-kind initiative that uses rigorous, evidence-based standards — developed by a scientific advisory committee comprised of world-renowned animal behaviorists, veterinarians, and ethicists, among other leading experts — to help ensure the welfare and well-being of animals living in the world’s zoos, aquariums, and conservation centers. Ours is the first third-party certification devoted solely to verifying that the animals in the care of these institutions are healthy, positively social, active, safe, and living with proper light, sound, air, and heat levels.

Adding to the program’s rigor, certification in the Humane Conservation program is contingent upon the results of independent third-party audits.

Ethics-driven Georgians and international tourists from around the world can now look forward to experiencing the excitement and adventure of Georgia Aquarium with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the animals living there receive only the highest standards of verifiably humane care.

Robin Ganzert, President and CEO, American Humane

Association, Washington, D.C.