Chairman Brown: Argument by Chase ‘is devoid of reasoning’
I can honestly say I was taken aback by Dennis Chase’s letter to the editor last week with a headline stating there was “no evidence” that any of the Core Infrastructure SPLOST projects were needed.
Mr. Chase, a wildlife biologist, has worked with me on several projects in the past. I think he will tell you that I have always been inclusive in terms of his participation on any project where he has an interest. In addition, Mr. Chase has been given full access to our staff and has come to various meetings with staff at our invitation.
Of course, with 181 stormwater projects in the Core Infrastructure SPLOST there is going to be some quibbling on some project or another, guaranteed, but to infer that none of the projects are warranted is such a gross exaggeration that it is devoid of reason.
We have already had to pay for stormwater repairs and replacements, unbudgeted, pulling the funds out of other line items. We know more are coming and there is no adequate funding source. This is no way to operate.
The day before one of our stormwater town hall meetings, the culvert on Morrison Road collapsed taking a section of road with it. Since there was only one way in and out of the subdivision, we had to have a crew working around the clock, doing the project half at a time so that cars and emergency vehicles could ride over fill dirt dangerously close to the crew in the hole. Again, this is no way to operate. The culvert should have been replaced long ago.
Mr. Chase’s chief complaint was he has no information on the dam projects. The county personally told the editors of both local newspapers and Mr. Chase that our subcontracted engineers could not get the project data and costs on the dams to us by July 8 when we promised the project workbooks.
We told the editors and Mr. Chase that we would send the information on the dams over once we received it. Mr. Chase knew this and I am disappointed that he chose to give a blatant misrepresentation of the promise we extended as though we had no intention of providing the data.
As promised, we now have the data on the dams from Walden, Ashworth and Associates, Inc. and have updated all the workbooks and online copies.
The state government requires that the dams be brought into compliance with the Georgia Safe Dams Act of 1978. This is a mandate from the state and it is the right thing to do to prevent possible loss of life and property.
We have two options per the state: upgrade the dams or breach the dams. Both options have considerable costs and we currently do not have the funding for either option. Doing nothing is not a choice available to us.
The current Board of Commissioners did not build the dams or the county roads adjacent to the dams. We are simply trying to resolve the problem.
I am incensed that Mr. Chase would accuse the county of willy-nilly creating a “toxic chemical flow” from two auto junk yards in the Roberts Road area into the local creek by our planned project there, stating no pollution control exists.
First of all, the water is flowing to the auto junk yards now, anyway (Mr. Chase knows this). Why would controlling the water be more harmful?
Second, in 2008, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water District required implementation of the “Illicit Discharge and Detection” program and our staff notified auto salvage companies in the county they were not in compliance with Georgia Industrial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements.
Auto salvage yards are one of ten categories required to have an Industrial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System by the Federal and State government [specifically, 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14)]. This permit requires industrial facilities to develop and implement stormwater management practices to control pollutants in discharges of storm waters associated with industrial activity from the auto salvage yards.
So much to their credit, all auto salvage yard owners complied with these stormwater requirements at significant cost to their operations and submitted “Notice of Intents” within 2008 and updated them in 2012 as required by state law.
Do not take my word for it, please go to www.gaepd.org/Documents/IndustrialStormwater.html and see for yourself. On that site are all the auto salvage yards that are in compliance located in Fayette County, including those on Roberts Road.
Now the reason I am so riled about Mr. Chase’s inciting comments about “toxic chemicals” and no prevention is that I personally had our county staff give Mr. Chase a copy of that report in February of 2013.
Mr. Chase is a biologist and not an engineer. I appreciate the fact that Mr. Chase wants engineering on all the 181 projects. However, as I said before, we do not have a funding source for that expense, especially after the previous years of deficit spending.
Besides, it is not a financially sensible idea to do all the engineering for a large pile of stormwater projects on a voter referendum in the $20,000 and under range, principally because it would consume a great deal of time and cash we do not have. That is why we built the design costs into the Core Infrastructure SPLOST.
Your current Board of Commissioners did not cause the problems, but we are trying to resolve them.
If you want straight answers for any of your Core Infrastructure SPLOST questions or you would like to make a comment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will release the questions and answers to the news media.
Steve Brown, Chairman
Fayette County Board of Commissioners