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Benefits of homeowners associations - April Avison

As Henry County continues to grow, adding more subdivisions and more residents, the people who live here are getting more involved in local government. They want to know what's going on around them and why these things are happening. They have realized they have the power to influence elected officials and thus lend a hand in painting the picture of Henry County.

Judy Neal, executive director of the Henry Council for Quality Growth, called me last week with one of her great ideas. She'd like to extend an invitation to homeowners associations in Henry County to participate in the Council for Quality Growth and discuss ways to take action in an organized, efficient manner.

Neal's idea isn't really about raising funds or increasing membership on the Council for Quality Growth. Rather, it's a way for a strong force in our community – homeowners – to learn how to flex their collective muscles. Homeowners associations have a lot of power. When they unite in a large group to oppose or advocate an issue before the county commission or city council, their voices are heard, and often it makes a difference that affects much of the population of our county.

Recently large groups have organized to voice their opinions on annexation issues before the McDonough City Council and the proposed Flippen Road extension before the Henry County Board of Commissioners. With the support and guidance of a group like the Henry Council for Quality Growth, homeowners associations could expand their resources and provide more informative presentations.

This is not to say that our local homeowners don't know what they're doing and could use some help. In recent months, plenty of these homeowners have done an impressive amount of research and have spoken quite eloquently before our boards. But it might help to organize a little and share ideas with other homeowners and community leaders who have made quality growth one of their top priorities.

Collaboration is one of the keys to making Henry County a better place to live. Two are better than one, and if we can work together, share ideas and strengthen our support or opposition for an issue, we can really make a difference.

To set up an appointment with Judy Neal of the Henry Council for Quality Growth, call (770) 389-0193 or e-mail judyneal@bellsouth.net.

April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at aavison@henryherald.com.