The upcoming vote on liquor sales in Effingham is one which should be seriously considered. If approved, it will set an unchangeable direction for our community. The water system which was approved in the last few years is a prime example. Even if it is discovered at a later date to have permanent harmful effects, we can’t go back and change it.
The major pros which are used for approving the measure are additional tax receipts and attracting chain restaurants. The only study I have seen on tax revenue shows that the increase in tax income is offset by the increase in law enforcement expenses and social services made necessary by the influx of businesses that are bars that serve food rather than restaurants that serve liquor.
In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey has the chance to see what Bedford Falls, the town where he lived, would be like had he not been born. His influence was what you might consider “wholesome” in that he cared about the individual people always striving to ensure each person had good housing, and that the community and its citizens prospered, a community which much of us sought by moving from Chatham to Effingham. When going back to see the town without innocent influence, it had evolved into a … well, Chatham County. A county with higher taxes, a county with more crime, a county with a faster pace of living, a county many of us escaped for these reasons.
If liquor is approved in Effingham, this probably won’t happen overnight, but it certainly will set the direction for future progress. Is the convenience of being able to have a bourbon and coke with your dinner worth giving up the attributes we now enjoy in our community? If approved, we must take all that comes with the progress and this certainly will include bright lights, bars and late night traffic of questionable driving ability. We will never be able to go back to the way we were.
We have all kinds of bars and nice restaurants close enough in Chatham County, just a short distance away. Perhaps we should focus our energy solely on improving the roads so that we can enjoy both the serenity of home and the nightlife of Chatham.
Above all, progress for the sake of progress is not always good nor in the end what we really wanted. Again, a point to ponder is the water system and how it opened up development. It was said this would improve our tax base. Are the property taxes better now? A few have profited from its opening up new development while all must carry the cost of its installation along with the additional burden to the public services.
Has this investment improved the aesthetics or quality of life in Effingham? Will liquor sales really improve the aesthetics or quality of life in Effingham? Will Effingham be a better place to live in 30 years if we approve the referendum?
Many of Effingham citizens moved from Chatham County to avoid the effects of continual progress. Now we are poised with the dilemma of do we want to bring this same progress to Effingham.
I hope everyone will consider long and hard the threshold we cross should the majority vote for yes.