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Why you should vote NO on the infrastructure SPLOST

The Fayette County SPLOST proposal is simply wrong. Vote NO. And here is why you should vote no. Fayette County is taking the wrong approach to stormwater management and especially to funding stormwater projects.

The first thing the Fayette County Stormwater Department should do is create a Master Stormwater Drainage Plan.

Because the county does not have a master drainage plan, the cart is so far in front of the horse that the horse will never catch up. The county has decided to throw a lot of money at projects hoping for good results. Without knowing potential results and impacts, this simply doesn’t make sense.

A stormwater drainage plan must be in place before any stormwater repair projects can properly be designed and funded. To ask the people of Fayette County to pay some $18 million under the rubric of “infrastructure” is facile and misleading.

Without a stormwater drainage plan, repairs and costs are based on a “SWAG,” or “stupid wild a— guess.” And that’s all the so-called “Infrastructure SPLOST Plan” is: a SWAG. (“A” stands for “assumption.” In case you were wondering.)

Why should we care? First, stormwater management has a direct impact on the quality of our drinking water and on the cost of cleaning that water before it is pumped into our homes.

Second, an efficient stormwater management utility can have an important impact on development. A developer, looking for a site to build a new factory, recreational area, college, or residential community is likely to select a county in which stormwater management and the cost of stormwater management are clear and above-board, and based on reason and logic, rather than SWAGs.

Only when a plan is in place is it appropriate to calculate cost and to determine how the projects will be funded. This is important: funding and taxing without a drainage plan and without a prioritized list of projects with valid costs based on the drainage plan is simply handing politicians a bucket full of money.

Fayette County is still in the process of developing a stormwater drainage plan. However, their sense of urgency to do something has led them to propose an $18 million dollar tax in hopes that by doing something, no matter how ill-considered it is, they’ll get the right results. That’s nuts.

Dennis Chase
Fayetteville, Ga.
Paul Lentz, Jr.
Peachtree City, Ga.

[Dennis Chase, now retired, was a fish and wildlife biologist with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 26 years. Since retiring, he has worked as a consultant for Fayette County on environmental concerns, as a volunteer with the Line Creek Association of Fayette County, and has published numerous newspaper columns.

Paul Lentz, Jr. is a member of the Peachtree City Friends of the Library and has written numerous letters to the editor.]

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