Fayette County Commissioners says Merry Christmas.... and here is your gift. A new TAX

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S. Lindsey
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Joined: 12/31/2008

Many of you have received the StormWater Runoff Tax in the mail by now... if not give it a day or two.

It's coming...

First this poorly conceived TAX was not communicated to the Citizens and any new taxes should be brought
before us before levied. When I contacted the NEW Office of the Stormwater division I was told that if you don't like it contact your Commissioner.

I was also advised this Tax was levied against us in June but we are just now receiving the bill and an additional Tax will be placed again
in June 2013. After I advised this person that my Rain water exits my property in the creek behind my house and does not even enter
a Stormwater system I was advised that because of the "POLLUTION" of my grass and driveway the EPA has assessed the penalties
because the rain goes into a creek thus I am now a polluter and must pay the Tax.

When I inquired who did the water TCLP (Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure) I was met with silence and when I asked when a homeowner
was required to have a SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan) again silence.

So I took his advice and wrote our County Commissioners.

The following is the emails and answers:

S. Lindsey wrote:

To whom it may concern,

Today I discovered that I have been assessed a fee for "Storm Water".

I have been following the debacle in Peachtree City as they assessed their Citizens months ago.

To say the least it is not well received.

I feel like you gave the Citizens of Fayette County NO NOTICE of this fee for a reason. One it would not have been well received

and two many if not most of us have to wonder what our property taxes, personal taxes, County taxes, sales taxes et.al.
really go towards since we are now being accessed another "fee".

I will be contacting as many of Fayette County citizens that I can in order to gather support for a repeal of this fee and failing that voting you out
as soon as elections are held.

WE are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY and do not want or need another tax placed on us by you.

Lee Hearn wrote:
Steve: Please contact Commissioner Steve Brown.... he has promised to fix this....
My term is up Dec 31 sorry not much I can do...
thanks...

Commissioner Steve Browns Response:

Mr. Lindsey,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the new storm water fee.

I voted against the measure for several reasons.
The three member majority (Chairman Frady, Commissioner Hearn and Commissioner Horgan) passed the new fees and were not receptive to suggestions. All three will not be in office by January 2013.

All that being said, we do have a significant problem with our stormwater infrastructure in the unincorporated county and something will ultimately have to be done. Currently, we have tens of millions of dollars worth of dilapidated piping beneath roads and next to roads that has to be replaced.

A few projects had to immediately be funded out of the general fund because the road beds were collapsing on top of the eroded metal pipes which were well beyond their lifespans.

Unfortunately, there was no plan and no funding set aside to replace the infrastructure, ever.
New guidelines have been put in place and we now use long-lasting concrete pipe instead of the metal pipe,but the long replacement list remains.

The ground work for releasing the fee program was poorly orchestrated and many in the public were unaware. There will be a change management style beginning next year.

None of the commissioners as of January 2013 will have voted for the stormwater project. The program will be evaluated and we will ultimately have to step-up and determine how to make the critical repairs which will cost a great deal of money.

S. Lindsey wrote:

Mr. Brown,
I have been fielding calls all day on this from my neighbors. None of which knew about the tax nor are they happy about it.

Almost everyone is so upset they have stated they are not paying the fee.

This was poorly conceived and poorly communicated. One of my neighbors told me she contacted the office and was told they only sent out 50 letters and stopped because of the cost but yet was able to send out billing for this only 7 months late.

Mr. Brown.. I am starting a petition to have this tax suspended at least until this can be properly put before the people of Fayette County and a needs assessment can be obtained.

I request that you place this on the agenda for the next meeting where I will present the petition for the suspension.

Sincerely,

So there it is... If you don't care for the new TAX leave a message here. I will be creating a petition both online and on paper to suspend the Tax until
such time we the Citizens of Fayette County can have the Commissioners explain to us exactly why we have to pay a tax for Rain.

sourmug
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Storm Water Petition

First let me say that I was very unhappy with being blindsided with this bill. Attempted to go to the website listed on the bill for more information about this new "fee". Their website could not be accessed. When I was able to link to their website, the information I could find was a joke. Contacted their office and asked to have someone come out and show me how the bill was determined. Told I would have to come into the office and view the ariel photo's that they used to calculate the impermeable surface area. I was already hopping mad about having to pay a "fee" that they must have pulled out of the air, come to find out they did. When I was finally able to access credits and exclusions information, I found that I should have qualified for two of the credits. Both of them based on the square footage of my lot and should have been calculated automatically. Was told they would send out a new bill with these credits. Still have not received. I just wonder how many people will get these bills and just pay them. I also wonder how many of the bills will be incorrect. Sending this bill just before the holiday with threating language and probably incorrect billing will allow the county to collect money that they are not due. I am steaming mad and can't believe there are no other responses to this yet. I will gladly be first in line to sign your petition. Please let me know where to sign up.

AtHomeGym
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Joined: 01/18/2007
Impervious surfaces & runoff

Total sq footage of impervious surface on your property is a poor yardstick from which to develop a 'fee'. Question should be: Where does the runoff go? If it can be shown to exit your property perhaps there should be a runoff fee. If the runoff is channeled into developed vegetation and absorbed, there should NOT be a fee. I think the proper descriprtion for it is: Poorly conceived, poorly planned, poorly executed. It should be repealed by our new Commissioners.

Here's the kicker: "Repair of stormwater infrastructure is a stated task of the Road Dept of County Public Works. That's not new, so question is who is not doing their job? Inspection, repair, and annual budgeting for repair should have been a routine procedure for the Road Dept for a long
time--what happened? Better yet what DIDN'T happen?

moelarrycurly
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AHG stormwater

I have included a link below which I do believe is what PTC is using a the guide for this fee or tax. You can download the manual, it is 9MB. The educating of FC residents was kept pretty much to county commission meetings where it was discussed and voted on. It was done in the most low key way possible by the 3 commissioners who were voted out, because they knew the election was coming and they collectively had no character to pass on a new fee or tax during their reelection. So, most in the county knew/know nothing about it. It was done that way by design. Let everyone get the bad news after the election is over.

My annual fee is going from about $30.00 to about $60.00. Am I happy? Heck no. But, since PTC chose to bill for this as a city, the county can no longer bill city residents as part of the county fund taxes, it is double taxation to PTC residents. I don't know water details, but all stormwater enters the water table for everyone underground. It is all about keeping the water supply for everyone as clean as possible. The feds are mandating alot of this, not the county or the cities.

For whatever anyone thinks of Steve Brown, his explanation was very close to how this all came about. Be careful what you ask for. If the county were to remove impervious surfaces from this, and not bill schools, churches, shopping centers, etc., the bill for the private property owners will be exponentially higher (if that is even legal to do) to make up for that lost revenue. The greatest causes of runoff are impervious surfaces in some areas and those that have them should be billed accordingly. Even if you have no impervious surface on your property, you along with everyone else has to contribute to the cost of maintaining all the old and now corroding infrastructure in the county. You are correct, this has been let go forever and we are now paying that price. PTC is full of corroding pipes and drains.

You should see some of the photos of what PTC has had to deal with in replacing what has been in the ground for years. Trust me, this is the tip of the iceberg of what has been pushed aside and ignored to keep the "no new taxes" mantra going from Frady, Hearn, Horgan and before them Smith.

Correct me if I'm wrong, didn't Hearn run the county public works dept for years, too? Bet he has known forever that this has all been ignored.

http://www.atlantaregional.com/environment/georgia-stormwater-manual/

I know I sound like I'm defending this, I am not. It is long overdue and is going to cost a lot of catch-up money to fix. Just like PTC. I hope you can get some detailed answers and maybe a better solution.

Husband and Fat...
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Joined: 07/23/2012
MLC - Stormwater

You are correct in everything you said. This is a federal mandate being passed downward.

The corrugated metal piping used by many developers over the years is now eroding and therefore in many locations, roads are caving in. Concrete pipes, though more expensive, should have been mandatory underneath all roads as they are more reliable.

Many communities are now forcing developers to utilize pervious concrete for parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, ect... The reason being is that the pervious concrete allows the water to infiltrate thru the surface, is filtered and then goes into the soil below where it is filtered again naturally back into our aquifers. This however comes with a 20% increase in price compared to regular concrete. It also has some drawbacks, as it is not as strong, you need to clean it more often, and no one can really tell the long term cost comparisons.

Concrete or asphalt paving is not pervious, so rainwater is run unfiltered into the stormwater lines and then into our lakes, ect... Erosion also occurs especially with larger storms. When a property has a lot of land, they owners build detention basins to hold stormwater for a time until it slowly goes into the stormwater system. If land is tight, property owners place an underground stormwater detention system (mostly large interlocked pipes) that store the water for a time until it slowly drains into the county stormwater system.

There really isn't much we can do about the issue. This is probably a tax we have to endure to meet federal mandates and the development craze from years past.

S. Lindsey
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Joined: 12/31/2008
AHG.. EXACTLY

Keep'em coming and let everyone you know...know.

We have to push back on this one...

fay79isus
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Joined: 02/21/2007
Stormwater: County is going to milk us, too

It looks like the County is putting out a new tax just like PTC has for the so-called "Stormwater" utility. PTC has been collecting all this money and now admits it hasn't done all the work they were supposed to. Now they're gonna double the tax. Where in the world is the Tea Party on this ?

Dennis Chase has earlier warned us about this devious "Stormwater Tax":

http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/dennis-chase/06-07-2011/stormwater-fees-...

http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/dennis-chase/04-05-2011/county-stormwate...

Here is the Citizen story when the County first planned on laying this egg:

http://www.thecitizennews.com/articles/05-31-2011/fayette-stormwater-%E2...

Scott Bradshaw also wrote an opinion criticizing all of this.

The truly distressing thing is that County can do like Peachtree City--- have an absolutely incompetent program and then arbitrarily double taxes on it. I will sign the Petition. If PTC wants it, let them have it. The County doesn't have to do it and shouldn't.

S. Lindsey
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Joined: 12/31/2008
fay99 we are working on a Townhall style meeting

for this issue.

The New Commissioners are going to get an ear-full. Should be sometime in Jan.

cogitoergofay
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Joined: 04/11/2006
Stormwater Town Hall Meeting

Please post on the time and location of the Stormwater Town Hall Meeting. I will definitely be there, Lindsey. Thanks for organizing it. I agree--- kind of surprising that the Tea Party folks have been silent on this issue.

The analysis that the County should engage in is as follows: what is the stormwater problem that needs government involvement; how much will it cost; how much will the additional tax be. It does not look like Peachtree City has done any of this and now has a huge beast out of control.

rsyrkos
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Joined: 12/28/2012
Storm water tax

Mr. Lindsey,

I believe many of us share your belief and concerns regarding this stupid law including how it was decided, handled and communicated. I know of several people that have complained directly to the County Officials and have already had their amount reduced and some anticipate that it may even be totally eliminated. This shows how a few officials on their way out can push the consequences of their own incompetence to the tax payers and homeowners and specifically to those who do not push back and unfortunately, this usually is the majority. This also tells me that the strategy is to address the issues case by case, silence the complainers by reducing or eliminating the cost and collect from the majority.
Obviously, the taxes collected through the years for the infrastructure maintenance in this County were spent on matters other than the stormwater runoff and now they are trying to catch up and expect us to flip the bill. How can any County or City or State administrator fail to understand and anticipate that stormwater systems will eventually need repairs or replacement and plan for it accordingly? What else have they not anticipated and should we now expect new and separate taxes for sidewalks or for lamp posts or fire hydrants etc as soon as these items reach their life expectancies. If we accept this, we will end up paying for these services twice, once as part of our normal property taxes and once individually.
As an example and surely there are many, after noticing the new road pavement that was done this year on several county roads/streets that really did not need it, I can’t help but wonder if the moneys should not have been better spent on issues such as this important one. Redwine is a good example where the County spent money making an excellent road better.
My property handles its own runoff and the impervious areas on it are all located in the middle of my 25-acre lot. Certainly my runoff does not travel some 12 acres to end up in the County systems. My driveway onto Harris Road angles back towards my property and I get a lot of runoff from the County’s impervious systems. Will this new law work both ways? This is being ridiculously analyzed as if rain, stormwater and runoff are some new and terrible environmental consequences of God only knows what. Pipes and culverts etc do not last forever. The main reason they need fixing or replacement is that they are simply old. The main reason for this tax is that our Officials failed to track their condition, plan for their repairs and/or replacement or spent the collected money on other issues or opportunities that probably were politically or personally self serving.
Below is what I sent to the Stormwater Management and I will be happy to sign your petition. I also plan to attend the next meetings which I believe will be held January 2, and 10 or thereabout.

12/19/2012
"This is to the attention of Vanessa Birrell, Storm Water Manager. Please forward to her.

Dear Miss Birrell,

I am extremely upset to receive a bill for $121.80 and I question the validity of such a law that you have passed expecting Homeowners to further manage stormwater runoff. The management of this issue is the responsibility of the County and not of the Homeowner. The County has been collecting taxes from the Homeowners forever to address such issues and the County's failure to expect that the stormwater systems would one day deteriorate and its avoidance to prepare for it cannot be pushed on to the Homeowners.

On a personal basis, I assure you that my property has been designed to handle all stormwater runoff and to ensure that the rain that falls on and around the impervious areas are totally absorbed into the earth. The impervious surfaces that your bill refers to are mostly located in the middle of my 25-acre property and the stormwater runoff very seldom reaches the County stormwater systems if at all. This includes my driveway which as it nears Harris Road angles back toward my land which captures and manages the runoff. Your method and information related to the calculations may have been suggested by an independent and professional Engineering firm but it appears to me that the County paid for what it was seeking rather than for a solution.

I can imagine that the infrastructures in place have deteriorated to the point of needing extensive repairs and/or replacement and this merely shows the County’s inability to properly manage the problems throughout the years and highlights your quick-fix solution of further taxing the homeowners to compensate. You are not addressing the problem but merely the symptoms.

I plan to attend the next County meetings with many other Homeowners and express personally my displeasure and future actions to the County Officials concerning this injustice. I have read that this type of law has failed miserably in other States and it surely will also fail in Fayette County, GA.

Season's Greetings,"

Mr. Lindsey, I hope we get a good crowd to represent the County at the next meetings and I look forward to meeting you.

Regards,

Ron S.