Brown answers concerns about SPLOST being a double tax for cities
There is some speculation in Peachtree City lately that passage of the Core Infrastructure SPLOST means that Peachtree City taxpayers would be double-taxed for stormwater since they pay a utility fee as well. I truly appreciate my neighbors in Peachtree City contacting me and asking these types of questions.
Unfortunately, the city government has not sufficiently spread the word that the city’s portion of the sales tax proceeds is going toward road and multi-use path maintenance which they urgently need. Many thought the city’s projects were stormwater related like the county’s list.
The sales tax proceeds would be divided by population and each jurisdiction has selected the core infrastructure projects they need to maintain the most. There is no double-taxation.
Previously, Peachtree City had taken the necessary steps to raise funding for their stormwater maintenance through their stormwater utility, so they chose to use their funding to maintain badly worn roads and multi-use paths which is the weak spot in their budget.
We are pushing harder than ever before to pull all our jurisdictions together in a cooperative spirit and we intend to be competitive with the north metro counties on funding grants and attracting high paying jobs.
Historically, Peachtree City was seen as a county outsider for many decades, resented and forced to fend for itself. The city has its own police, fire/EMS and recreation departments because the county was reluctant to extend their services.
I personally worked on a lot of the “inequity” issues on behalf of Peachtree City. Most of the funding inequity or duplicate service payment issues have been resolved.
Currently, you have a Board of Commissioners who believes that if the cities and towns excel that the county will win also. Although that premise seems to be a no-brainer, the egos kept getting in the way previously. The level of cooperation between city and county is the best I have seen in the 20 years I have lived in Fayette. Many long-timers agree.
After a rancorous year’s worth of battling over Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) distribution in 2012 with the previous Board of Commissioners, unable to reach an agreement, the current board along with the cities got it resolved in just two weeks in 2013. In that negotiation, I emphasized making sure that everyone succeeds is paramount to everyone’s success.
The other jurisdictions gave Peachtree City some slack in the distribution formula knowing they needed the help. In the SPLOST distribution agreement, the county gave the cities more than the allotment called for in the state law. It is odd to outsiders that “cooperation” is not a natural tendency in local government, but we have pulled it off in 2013.
We have got to work and plan together or perish.
Please keep in mind that our problems go well beyond our borders. Fayette County put funding into Fairburn’s study for the I-85 and Ga. Highway 74 interchange. That was an extremely unconventional move. However, our future depends upon solving that problem. Likewise, any single jurisdiction within Fayette can be brought down by the decline of any other jurisdiction within the county.
I have told several local groups that it is in our best interest to help Clayton County with political support and regional cooperation in an attempt to help them resolve some of their serious issues. If Clayton County fails on our northern border, we suffer too.
We have an exhaustive set of documents on the Core Infrastructure SPLOST on our county web site and we have meticulously listed all questions asked by citizens with full answers. You can see those on www.fayettecountyga.gov. Again, a reminder, the funding is for infrastructure already in the ground that has to be maintained or it fails.
Please get out and vote your conscience on Nov. 5.
Steve Brown, Chairman
Fayette Board of Commissioners