You’ve heard of money laundering. Now I want to introduce you to a slightly different concept–land laundering. It’s like money laundering, except that, instead of coming out clean, it’s as if the land never left the hamper and, when it is finally retrieved, it comes out much as it went in, only cheaper.
At least, that’s how I’m going to explain the fact that most of our public agencies in Glynn County, Georgia are serving as acreage collectors or land hampers. That is the County Commission, the Airport Authority, the Economic Development Authority, the Joint Water and Sewer Commission, the School Board and even the Brunswick Housing Authority are/were all being used as repositories of raw land, presumably to create an artificial scarcity so their developer friends can increase the value of what’s left. And, because buying and selling land are legal matters, they can retreat into executive sessions and do it behind closed doors. (That there are winds of change blowing through the County may, on the other hand, account for the establishment of a private land laundering entity, the Saint Simons Land Trust).
One result of this fascination with buying and selling land is that the real public services these organizations are supposed to deliver get short shrift. And they get loaded down with debt. At least that seems to be how the Joint Water and Sewer Commission got into the situation Tom Boland describes in his report to the Grand Jury, which now appoints some of the members in the interest of making that organization more effective — i.e. focused on its functions, rather than whatever racked up a forty four million dollar debt, which the rate payers are now obligated to retire.
But, I’m going to let Commissioner Boland explain in his own words, which he was so kind as to send to me.
REPORT TO GLYNN COUNTY GRAND JURY FOR YEAR 2014