F’ville Council axes T-SPLOST, bypass resolutions
The agenda of the June 21 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council included proposed resolutions to oppose the regional transportation SPLOST and the West Fayetteville Bypass. Initiated by Mayor Greg Clifton, the T-SPLOST resolution was removed from the agenda by a 3-2 vote while the bypass resolution was removed after a unanimous vote.
One of the proposed resolutions initiated by Clifton was in opposition to the regional transportation SPLOST coming before voters on July 31.
Councilman Walt White in commenting on the resolution as it was introduced said he believed it should be removed from consideration, noting that citizens are well-educated and can make the decision on “whether they want one-cent or don’t want one-cent.”
“I don’t think we need to be involved in this,” White said.
Clifton in response said approving the resolution would raise the issue to a higher level in terms of citizens’ awareness. Clifton also noted what he called the potential special interests involved in the initiative, adding that the T-SPLOST could be found unconstitutional.
“Well that’s something that has to be decided, if it’s unconstitutional,” said Councilman Larry Dell. “You mentioned special interests. This (resolution) is catering to special interests here. People, if they do the research, can make the decision for themselves. When we start telling people how they should vote on an issue, then what’s next? Do we go to something else and tell them who to vote for? When we start doing resolutions like this you infringe upon a person’s right to make a decision on their own.”
After the brief discussion White made a motion to remove the item from the agenda. The motion passed with Dell, White and Councilman Ed Johnson voting in favor and councilmen Mickey Edwards and Paul Oddo opposed. As mayor, Clifton only votes to break a tie.
Next up was a resolution opposing the West Fayetteville Bypass. The resolution recommended discontinuing the northern leg of the bypass currently under construction while constructing the southern leg that would connect to Ga. Highway 85 South. The resolution also proposed using the funds from the northern leg to construct the East Fayetteville Bypass.
Clifton began the discussion by referencing a recent traffic study that he had not had time to read. Clifton subsequently recommended that the resolution be tabled.
Dell then spoke up, saying the item should be removed from the agenda.
“None of this that’s on this resolution is in the city. The people already voted. They voted for the (local transportation) SPLOST,” Dell said.
“It’s not in the city but it does have impact,” Clifton responded.
White then joined the discussion, saying, “The road is two-thirds built and you’re trying to change things. We need to stay out of county business and let it be taken care of by the county.”
Clifton again noted that the proposed resolution was in response to a copy of the traffic study he obtained from Commissioner Lee Hearn.
At that point, Dell made a motion that the resolution be removed from the agenda.
Johnson during the discussion was the first to comment.
“I tend to agree that this sets a precedent where we are shining a spotlight on the commissioners,” Johnson said. “It says to them that they’re doing something wrong. As citizens we have the right to do that, but (as a council) it puts a wedge between us.”
With that, Johnson said he could not support the resolution.
Oddo followed, saying that while he disagrees with aspects of the West Fayetteville Bypass he did agree with the point Johnson made.
That said, the vote to remove the resolution from the agenda was unanimous.
A third resolution considered Thursday night was one that came up at the previous meeting. Though with much less fanfare than when first presented two weeks ago, the resolution opposing the federal government’s unconstitutional encroachment on the free exercise of religion passed unanimously.