Do we really want this SPLOST?

Dennis Chase's picture

The citizens of Fayette County got the worst end of the deal from a SPLOST vote in 2004 which forced the West Fayetteville Bypass on us. In my opinion, this set of commissioners are about to do the same thing — that is, if we let them.

In 2004, we had next to nothing to tell us what we were being asked to vote for but agreed to pay for transportation projects anyway. This year, similar in some ways to what existed in 2004, we have a list of 181 projects they say must be fixed. But what do you really know about any of them, other than the fact they are very expensive? The answer is virtually nothing.

One example is the $1.4 million they want to spend on the Longview Dam. I recommended an alternative of draining the lake and installing a box culvert for approximately $600,000. I asked why spend over twice as much and I got — nothing.

They placed a set of plans in the libraries showing 181 projects and asked for public comment. In response to questions and comments, they changed — nothing. At their public hearing last Aug. 29, I offered an alternative list of four projects from their list that they could fix immediately, and they said — nothing. I pushed hard, for a stormwater drainage plan that would lead to a logical set of plans for each watershed and got — nothing.

After three years of trying to find out what was planned and why, always getting the same nothing response, I reached the only conclusion I could, and that was to give them — nothing.

No money until we, the taxpayers, have a sensible plan. I am asking you to do the same, give them the same thing they have been giving us — nothing.

A vote for their 181 projects is like signing a blank check as we have almost no information on what those many culvert replacements will do for us. And sad as it may seem, they have no idea of what the impacts will be, either. For them to continue to repeat, “We have to do something,” doesn’t make it even close to being acceptable.

As a group, this set of commissioners cannot seem to get beyond their “issues,” defined by them as meaning how do we raise the money? How to fund capital improvement projects is near the end of the planning process, not the beginning.

I raised serious questions about several of the proposed projects which they didn’t answer. I received political non-answers, answers to questions I didn’t ask, or, more often, total silence.

I am voting against this SPLOST because it is wrong. Before I put money on the table, I ask why, what is it for? So should you.

[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.]

Don Rehwaldt
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SPLOST

Agreed, Dennis I recall a vote last year where the Tyrone attendees voted to fund their own storm water projects. Nothing has changed. Our millage rate for next year are virtually the same (a big .029% reduction)while the Counties increased .069%. Then add the SPLOST tax, and everyone living in Tyrone and Peachtree City will be funding all projects across the County. We can pay our own way, thank you.

Don Rehwaldt
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Joined: 03/06/2006
SPLOST

Agreed, Dennis I recall a vote last year where the Tyrone attendees voted to fund their own storm water projects. Nothing has changed. Our millage rate for next year are virtually the same (a big .029% reduction)while the Counties increased .069%. Then add the SPLOST tax, and everyone living in Tyrone and Peachtree City will be funding all projects across the County. We can pay our own way, thank you.

NUK_1
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Joined: 12/17/2007
Agreed Mr. Rehwaldt

Glad to see some agreement across city lines here, though I think some in PTC are salivating at the prospects of alleged "free money" from a SPLOST.

Also people, please don't confuse Don Rehwaldt (Mayor of Tyrone) with Don Rehman (Total Kook of Senoia). I made that mistake once myself.

naturegrl
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Joined: 01/19/2012
Dennis Chase

thank you for your knowledge and insight into this SPLOST issue. Thank you for your service and time you have spent not only on this issue but many other past and current issues. Seems this government does not want to hear from anyone who spouts facts in their face. Continue what you are doing for this county. You are the lone wolf crying in the dark.
I too am voting NO on the SPLOST.

Husband and Fat...
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Joined: 07/23/2012
Nothings changed on Commission

Why hold a public hearing if commission is not really listening nor willing to provide any serious feedback to those questions posed? Sort of sounds similar to
June 23, 2011, when Commissioner Barlow decided to run for office. This was when a resident made an impassioned plea to the Board of Commissioners from her wheelchair without getting a response. Deja Vu?

Providing rote responses below is no way to deal with reasonable questions.

Ognio noted that shoppers who live outside Fayette County will help pay for the tax as well.

“I think all in all this is the best way to go about this,” Ognio said.

Commissioner David Barlow said the stormwater department has been woefully understaffed over the years, and he feels the county has done its groundwork to compile the project list.

Compile a list? Any fool can compile a list. Mr. Chase is right, the county deserves a sensible plan with expected results. Not a 181 project list with a budget thrown together nilly willy.