A little over a year ago, I wrote a letter to the editor to express my dismay with a new road fee imposed by Aiken County on 100 percent disabled veterans. The fee was $15 per vehicle.
Because of my disability status, the state graciously exempted my two vehicles from being taxed, but the county came up with a new plan to generate money. Considering that we hadn’t received a cost-of-living raise for two years, I felt that it put an undue burden on those of us who sacrificed our lives and health for our country.
I wrote to state Sen. Greg Ryberg and received a positive response, saying that he would support an exemption for us veterans. I also contacted a friend of mine, K.T. Ruthven, Aiken’s executive committeeman for the South Carolina Republican Party. I told him I sent two emails to my district representative, Democrat Kathy Rawls, only to be ignored. Being an independent voter who has written many letters against the Democrats, I suspect why she didn’t respond, even though in my mind she should represent all of the people, all of the time.
I asked K.T. if there was someone in the county whom I could contact, and he referred me to Councilman Gary Bunker. I sent numerous emails to Gary over the past year and always got a response. The processes was long and drawn-out, but the results are what counts.
I contacted Gary recently to find out if the county made any decision to give us veterans an exemption, and was told it finally passed Oct. 18.
I want to thank Greg, Gary and the council board members who decided in our favor. I appreciate their service.
Gregory J. Topliff