F’ville not sure it wants SPLOST, but it’s making a list just in case

The Fayetteville City Council on June 6 got a look at the potential projects list that could be included in the city’s portion of the Fayette County Commission-inspired two-year SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) should council members decide later this month to have the city participate in the November ballot initiative.

Fayetteville Community Development Director Brian Wismer in a May 28 letter noted that while the county would use SPLOST revenues for stormwater needs, commissioners have asked municipalities to consider using their share of the revenues for “core infrastructure” projects. Wismer said the two years of collections would generate approximately $5.5 million for Fayetteville.

The first issue to be addressed prior to a vote by the council on whether to include Fayetteville in the SPLOST was to establish a SPLOST priority list. Based on directions from the council on May 2, Wismer on June 6 proposed a short-, medium- and long-term list that included stormwater, transportation, public safety and water/wastewater projects that total $17 million for the council’s consideration.

A sampling of the short-term projects totaling $5.5 million that would potentially be placed on the Priority 1 list were dredging Pye Lake at $1 million; land acquisition, design and construction of a new fire station on the city’s west side at approximately $2 million; a multi-use path extension at $200,000; a police license plate reader system at $500,000; North Jeff Davis Drive resurfacing at $400,000; and culvert rehabilitation at $1.5 million.

City Manager Joe Morton said some of the Priority 2 projects could be included in the Priority 1 section so those items could be included in the ballot initiative. Morton added that some of the projects were previously included in the city’s budget plans.

A sampling of Priority 2 items include the purchase of fire apparatus such as an aerial truck, redirecting Stonewall and Lanier avenues for two-way traffic with roundabouts on the east and west sides of downtown, constructing landscape medians on Glynn Street from Grady Avenue to Georgia Avenue and constructing a multi-use bridge over Ga. Highway 54 at Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

Morton during the discussion said impact fees and other funding could help offset the cost of the fire apparatus needed at the new station.

Councilman Walt White near the end of the discussion reiterated the point he made at a previous meeting. White on May 2 said the SPLOST would amount to a tax on Fayetteville citizens, adding that the city is tied to the SPLOST.

“We lose out if it passes (and if the city does not participate),” White said, with Morton agreeing based on information provided by the city attorney.

The SPLOST issue will be taken up again and likely voted on June 20.

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