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Skiing in Perry? Why Not? Bureaucrats Is Why Not!

I recently visited Park City, Utah, and could not help but notice its similarities with Perry. Park City (8,000) and Perry (14,7000 are small cities. Utah’s tax rate is 5% of all income, while Georgia taxes at 6% over $7,000.  Park City and Perry’s real property tax rates are basically the same. The cost of living is virtually identical, if you take out housing costs where Park City is way higher. Park City has a far lower unemployment rate than Perry, with only 2% unemployed versus Perry’s 7.2%, and Park City is expected to have job growth of over 43% in the next ten years versus Perry’s 28%. The employment situation is startling different and the reason is abundantly clear.
The difference? Skiing. Park City is surrounded by mountains with abundant winter snowfall. That skiing pumps up the local economy big time. Lots of jobs for people young and old, scads of restaurants, hotels, recreation businesses and so forth. Why can’t Perry have a world class ski resort?
Bureaucracy is why. The regulatory nightmare that Perry, Houston County and Georgia would impose on Perry if it tried to become a ski destination would be impossible to overcome. For instance, can you imagine the hollering that would go on when you even suggested that you wanted to excavate the south end of the county to build up a world class ski mountain? While you could sell Chairman Tommy Stalnaker on it by telling him it’s the world’s biggest “state of the art” landfill opportunity, the EPA, Sierra Club, EPD, WWF, OSHA, Greenpeace and probably 200 other agencies would have to have a hand in that process. There’d be neighbors who’d complain about the shadow your mountain cast upon their land, so you’d have to compensate them. The bureaucrats would require so many permits and licenses and accommodations that you’d probably throw up your hands and walk away.
Then the issue of refrigeration. In order to pull this off, you’d need to build an invisible dome over the mountain. That’d make the FAA mad and probably a bunch of small plane pilots as well. Yet another obstruction for them to fly around, they’d complain. You’d need lots of power to refrigerate the mountain, and while Flint Electric and Georgia Power would probably love to sell you the power, they’d have to build a new power plant which would take years to get the appropriate permits. No coal, no nuclear, skiing2no fossil fuel plants allowed, only a solar plant would be permitted and that would take up an area the size of Schley County, which would be a good use for Schley County actually.
You’d have to ensure that there is capable medical care available, and I don’t see the Perry Hospital being able to fill the need unless it was expanded. That brings up the whole Warner Robins vs. Perry thing. HMC would wring their hands trying to sort that out for years. They’d probably come up with the insane idea of building a new hospital on Highway 41. Oh yeah, they already tried that.
Handling 100,000 skiers a year would put a strain on the road system and the residents would complain about that. There’d be yet another “build more roads” SPLOST while sacrificing the youth and recreation in the process. The Perry Fire Department would want to buy some more trucks in case the mountain caught on fire, that would cost money. The Perry hoteliers would try to put a moratorium on new hotel construction (they’ve asked for that before), and City Council would have to reject that idea, but that takes time. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of the problems that a world class ski resort would bring to Perry, so for now, we’ll just have to stay a sleepy little Southern town with gobs of heritage, style and grace. The high unemployment, children leaving for jobs in the big city and rising tax burden on the citizens will continue though. All because we aren’t willing to fight the bureaucrats that stifle growth and opportunity.
Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He focuses on personal injury cases and corporate litigation. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly at to comment on this article or suggest articles about the law that you’d like to see.

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