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Here comes the S-SPLOST

Added sales tax would replace stormwater fees except in PTC and F’ville

Call it an “S-SPLOST.” And call it “local.” Several Fayette County commissioners — including Chairman Steve Brown — want to put a stormwater sales tax on the ballot this November.

This move toward a Fayette-only dedicated penny tax comes less than a year after Brown led a public campaign to defeat a penny sales tax increase for transportation projects that would apply to the entire Atlanta metro area.

The proposed S-SPLOST is intended to raise money to replace aging culverts and drain pipes that run along and under county roads.

The recent conversation over the stormwater utility that affects Fayette County residents other than those living in Fayetteville and Peachtree City has been touted by Fayette County commissioners as one that required more public input.

The consensus solution arrived at by commissioners at the April 5 retreat would implement a number of stormwater credits and have a November vote for a two-year SPLOST (1 percent sales tax) that would raise enough money to fund needed capital improvements.

There were a total of five potential options on the table at the retreat. But after the matter was discussed, commissioners reached a consensus on an approach that combined two of the five options.

If adopted later this month, one of the options would put a two-year SPLOST on the November ballot that is expected to raise $41.25 million. A revenue breakdown showed the two-year period would generate $20.4 million for unincorporated Fayette, $12.9 million for Peachtree City, $5.4 million for Fayetteville, $2.3 million for Tyrone and $198,000 for Brooks.

Both Fayetteville and Peachtree City already have a stormwater utility tax imposed on property owners so the amounts raised for those cities would be used for purposes that would need to be decided by the respective city councils. The balance of the revenue would by used for stormwater-related projects since neither Tyrone nor Brooks have a stormwater tax.

The second option to be combined with the SPLOST would be to provide a number of credits that could offset a part of the stormwater bill. Those credits are expected to include provisions such as a farm pond credit and credits for not impacting stormwater drainage and another for the property’s acreage. Stormwater operations such as staff salaries would also be transferred from the utility’s budget to the general fund.

All considered, if the SPLOST passes in November the revenues collected will provide sufficient funds to take care of the capital projects — meaning replacing culverts and fixing roads — while reducing the stormwater utility by 90 percent for the next four years, said County Administrator Steve Rapson.

So how will all this work if approved by the commission in the coming weeks? Rapson said a notice will be sent in May saying the current stormwater utility will remain in place for the time being and that those who have not paid the past stormwater bill will be issued a 10 percent penalty if it is not paid. The letter will also notify taxpayers that the county is exploring the SPLOST. The new stormwater bill will be sent out in June.

If the SPLOST is successful it would eliminate much of the cost associated with the current billing level. Those costs to maintain the system once capital projects are completed will be significantly reduced and would provide for a much smaller stormwater bill.

The question remains as to whether a SPLOST will pass in November. Commissioners concerned with having voters properly notified suggested developing a newsletter mailer to explain the SPLOST along with broadcasts on public access television, by email and any additional methods that can be devised.

And if the SPLOST fails commissioners are likely to resort to yet another option, one that would raise the capital through a revenue bond. The borrowed money would be repaid by collecting stormwater fees.

Other options that did not pass muster included eliminating the stormwater utility and increasing property taxes while another would have eliminated the calculation for impervious surface and replacing it with an urban/rural billing structure.




I have a better idea for the S-splost. Shove it. Take the $28,million for the East Fayette by-pass and use that money just laying around for storm water upgrades.
You guys are suppose to be REPUBLICANS and REPUBLICANS are suppose to believe in less taxation. Are you Democrats in Republicans clothing?


For example, I live in Peachtree City. I am told we have infra trouble without a source of money to fix it. I think locally this should go for roads and golf cart paths- nothing else. I could then support it.

This won't fly with me because I can see the smoke and mirrors. When the county and cities finally admit that there is more to the Clean Water Act than the storm water utility alone, then I will listen.

The Federal Clean Water Act has to do with a lot more than replacing deteriorating storm water pipe under the roads. Mr. Dennis Chase has written many articles and has volunteered his time and knowledge yet no administration seems to want to address the other real issues that affect our water sources.

I have not met Mr. Chase, but I can see he understands the issues and is not afraid to stand up and discuss them. When the cities and counties start taking advantage of his knowledge, then I will listen to any tax increase, because at the end of the day, underground pipes are not our only problem.

The SPLOST proposal will be on the agenda for discussion at our next meeting. The truth is, we have a 50 year old infrastructure that is in desperate need of revenue. This seems to be the perfect fit. I would like to see us put it up in front of the taxpayer for a vote- so long as we have a focused list of infrastructure related projects. In the end, you, the taxpayer will decide if we move forward.

Until Council educates the public that the Clean Water Act is more than just infrastructure repairs, I think the tax is worthless.

Perhaps if the city actually listened to someone like Dennis Chase who understands that there is more to it than replacing a 40 year old culvert. The city is wasting your time trying to sell me.

I don't propose that we use this for storm water- the proposal came a little late for us to use for that purpose. I propose that Peachtree City use this SPLOST to repair the streets and golfcart paths that are in disrepair.

The article called it an S Splost for stormwater, so I just assumed we would use the money in the fashion that the county proposed. I'm also a little annoyed that our commissioners are forcing this down the throat of the cities.

People don't really understand that the stormwater issue is only a portion of the Clean Water Act. Yes, we have to better contain our stormwater piping network, but there are other issues the Clean Water Act requires us to do that no one has yet to address besides Mr. Chase.

If we want our local drinking water to be sustainable, there is a lot more that has to be accomplished.

Should the Splost pass, which I doubt it will, I would expect it to be used for the same purpose as the rest of the county.

I am in regular contact with Brown, McCarty, and the 3 Amigo's. I am sure that we can submit a list of non-stormwater related projects. It's all about how you write the law and whether the citizens elect to pay for the projects.

Really? Tell us, how long was the Hippocket Rd. project on that list? Never.

How long has Rockspray Pond been on that list and how many times has it been shuffled around in priority? Oh, let's say years now.

How long was the Wisdom Rd. project on that list? Never.

How many "lists" have there been and how many times have those lists been changed to address "new, more urgent" issues?

Just got our new 6 MONTH....yes, 6 MONTH stormwater bill (cute how that wording was SO well hidden) and not one sentence on that bill or the enclosed marketing flyer even MENTIONED the fact of the new billing that is more than double what it has been since this tax started.

And, yes, there are many in this city that do not read the paper to see that the city council has voted to more than double this tax. For some reason, they expect the govt. billing notice to EXPLAIN that little detail.

Where does it say in the stormwater act that ALL issues need to be addressed by a local taxpaying population all at once with millions and millions of dollars of taxes all of a sudden?

Desperate need? The library roof was desperate, the ballfield upgrades were desperate, the Kedron pool was desperate, the ampitheater repairs were desperate, the Gathering Place expansion was desperate, the Welcome Center remodel was desperate, the multiple new bathrooms at Public Works were desperate.

Tell us, how many more "desperate needs" can be found to fix everything in this city and county in the next few years to make it look all shiny and new? Seems you just follow whatever Steve Brown says goes, right?

Right now, our path maintenance is mostly covered by an expiring SPLOST. Once gone, that money will need to come from somewhere- the paths are not going to stop degrading. The issues are being addressed as they come up. Its seems like its all at once because so much of the stormwater system is past, or close to its end of life.

I was also angry over the library roof. The list of projects for Rec was put together before I was on council. I have repeatedly stated that we need to be out of the Kedron Pool business.

And for the record, I don't believe this was Steve's idea. I think it originated with Randy Oginio.

I would ask you this. Once the current SPLOST expires, we either have to cut back maintenance on roads and paths, cut back other services or renew the current sourced of revenue. You have been paying a penny on the dollar for these repairs for the last few years. Does it make more sense to continue to collect SPLOST revenue, or to cut back services?

The context of this article deals with a splost for stormwater. Until you posted after my post(or while I was writing it) stating you want to change it for just PTC to roads and paths, the discussion had only to do with stormwater. I do not see any benefit of mixing stormwater issues with paths and roads. That is at least partly how the county got in this mess. They ignored stormwater and just built roads around and over corroded pipes.

You say "mostly" covered. How much comes from nonsplost money? How about making a case about where it has come from in the past and where it will now go and how this is a change from how things have been done so mickey mouse in the past. Also, I do not believe a splost will come anywhere near covering what needs to be done to both the roads and paths. Maybe one but not both. Our subdivision streets look much worse now than many of the main paths. So, if I live in a subdivision with 30 homes and you live in one with 50 homes, and both look like crap, who gets the new blacktop? I spoke with a homeowner who lives in one of the newly politically paved subdivisions the other day. They are still upset, because their small street in that subdivision didn't get done. I know there are only so many dollars to go around, yet that homeowner would not accept it.

Cutting back on services? Gee, there is a concept that hasn't been discussed for years by the 3 or 4 in majority. Unless it has to do with public safety or staff payroll and benefits.

Here's a deal. You on council learn that service levels are not anywhere near being affordable. Learn it. Realize it and accept it. Learn that we will not tolerate new bonds and new taxes and new splosts and new fees till a very small minority says they think everything looks like it did 50 years ago here. All spiffy and new and unpaid for. All shiny and sparkly and no money in the world will make it affordable to maintain. Not just build, but to maintain.....ongoing, real time maintenance.

If and when council makes an effort to cut services and expenses not related to what I mentioned above, then I will gladly accept a 1 cent splost to replace the expired one. With defined uses spelled out in the wording of the splost and it is voted on by the majority who turn out to vote on it.

Of course, a master plan that Dr. P. has been asking for over and over and over would cover all that, but let's just ignore the professionally trained manager with over 30 years of experience and keep coming up with new taxes and fees and loans and not address a comprehensive plan going forward.

I can only speak for myself- I realize that the days of developers paying for all these shiny and new things are long since past. I submitted 2 balanced budgets last year. These included cuts. I was able to negotiate some of the cuts back in the "consensus" budget.

I don't have the exact number, but I know that pretty much all of the golfcart path money came from the SPLOST.

I didn't write the article - so I am not privy to why it was called a Stormwater Splost in the article. The PTC projects would most likely not be stormwater related, so SSPLOST is a misnomer.

I agree with you in much of what you said above. Especially on defining the usage.

Bet you no one demanded that developers use the svcs of a Corrosion Engineer, who can advise what lining and outer cover to use, based on the environment where they will be installed. Svc life can go up to 80 yrs for corrugated steel pipe. I suspect County folks would scoff at using a Corrosion Engineer but I think it's a smart thing to do.

If the county engineer is not using a specialist to come up with a plan, then the county has NO business asking for one penny in taxes to do squat! We are talking about what will be a bottomless pit of tax dollars going forward. Just ask anyone who pays this in PTC. It will never go away and unless the laws are changed to get the Feds out of our local business we will forever be stuck with this.

PTC was built by developers who did everything on the cheap. No lesson has been learned as some of those same are now forever going to change this unincorporated county and will get into a Fayetteville soon thru annexation out in movieland.

I understand how precious water is as a resource. However, with Lake McIntosh now operational, ask Tony Parrott how much water this county has now. We are figuratively swimming in water.

The issue is not how much water we have or do not have. Its how we maintain clean water.

In PTC, how many times have they had to dredge Lake Peachtree and at what cost? Its because we have silt being added to the lake caused by runoff.

What happens to the oil on the roadways when it rains? It rises and flows into our rivers and lakes.

On the county level, lets take a look at the farms. Everyone is looking for credits for having the large ponds collecting rainwater. However, if they have farm animals the rainwater is taking the poop and sending it right to our underground aquifers, polluting our drinking water. No one has addressed this yet in the county, but they will soon have to as this too is part of the Clean Water Act.

Mr. Chase has been explaining this and no one wants to listen. The stormwater utility is just step one. None of our leaders want to discuss the rest.

Just wait, once everything is known about this people will go ape.

Our most immediate concern today should be how much of that stormwater is coming tonight to turn my mellow yellow car back to it's original black color.

I just saw a yellow squirrel. He came to the window and sneezed and grabbed his nuts and ran like the dickens. I think he knows something.

And now all that pollen is going to be washed into our drinking water, lol

What have we done all these years without the feds?

S. Lindsey's picture about having several Townhall meetings to "splain" it.

Instead of the previous CF that we had by having it just dumped on us.

Additionally you need to look at other funding sources and be prepared to "splain" why we are still paying for the boondoggle of the Road to Somewhere project... etc.

Also be prepared to give us some REAL Fayette County issues not a video from "somewhere" else and give us details on the projects timeline.

A 1% sales tax is a better option then then prior snafu we got. Everyone pays including those from out of County that uses our roads to shop in the Pavilion. Thus the burden will be shared by everyone not just by those that live here..

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Don Haddix's picture

PTC Council already said no to this proposal. That is all I will say at this time.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>


Too late.....

Be careful, you communicating too much and sounding too logical.
Mayor will log on here soon and piss on your parade as he always does.
We know he lacks control.... It's coming!

Jolly for PTC Mayor's picture

We do not need anymore SPLOTS. We need to re-evaluate projects, and work within the money we already have. Just as we do in our personal lives.

As for the comment on the Kedron Pool. I have never believed that it is a cities responsibility to provide discounted pool access. Kedron should function as a self-sufficient amenity and the cost to use the pool should be adjusted accordingly to meet operation/personal costs or be closed/sold to a private company.

I also have to question about the legality of having a different sales tax for Fayette County/Tyrone and Peachtree City/Fayetteville.

I personally like having my storm water bill mailed. Why???

I can see where these extra taxes come from instead of leaving it up to elected politicians to be honest and explain when they go up and down.

Simple Maintenance schedules keep costs low. Waiting till the "roof caves in" will always cost more.

Ummm. Its the same tax. On a SPLOST the cities come up with a list. Shouldnt a Mayoral candidate know how a splost works?

Jolly for PTC Mayor's picture

I am fully aware of how a SPLOTS work. This is a tax. The difference in keeping it in its current form, and not a SPLOSTS is that a SPLOTS can be a tax for multiple items pegged together. The other items people want to include should not be. Keep a tight reign on Stormwater Department and require justification every year for costs (tax) levied on home and business.

It is harder to do this with a SPLOTS.

This is why the TSPLOTS were defeated. In that one local municipalities were to come up with lists as well.

Let each city/county government tax their individual citizens for their own costs. We do not need to "share" the costs.

you know what a "SPLOTS" is. The TSPLOSTS were defeated because of mass transit. My God, this is like a conversation with Don Haddix...

Jolly for PTC Mayor's picture

I am sorry you seem so confused. When you would like to have a conversation on this topic, please let me know.

2 things. What is the difference between a SPLOTS and a SPLOST? Also, what is the difference between Ryan Jolly and Don Haddix?

Save your money--your recent posts have shown your lack of knowledge about local issues--surely not my concern as I am not a PTC resident.

NUK_1's picture

Just took Brown all of about 5 months of having a solid lock on the FC Commission to start proposing a tax increase proposal and also still hyping the ridiculous EFB.

It's ironic how he castigates the previous leaders of the Repub Party in FC and the next minute cannot wait to increase spending/taxation and the EFB for our Clayton Co neighbors.

I hope the rest of the commission has learned their lesson by now of relying on Steve Brown for anything and can be independent enough to shut this guy down. As Steve himself aptly stated this week "don't trust your government."
I'd add "especially when it is led by a proven failure like Steve Brown."

Hey Nuk, you got an idea about how the county can pay for needed infastructure repairs? I am engaged with one Commissioner in an attempt to repurpose existing SPLOST funds--it can be done--Gwinnett has already done it to the tune of 9Mil +. They found a way to do it--we should be able to do the same.

NUK_1's picture

As much as I do not like Brown, I 100% agreed with him on re-purposing the existing SPLOST funds last year or so ago to a lot better purpose than WFB.

My only concern is whether this will survive a court challenge, but I think it's worth the effort at this point. I know the GA legislature said "OK" but I don't know if any court has agreed with that yet and it's rather dicey to me, but go for it.

Brown seems to propose things "He Wants" rather than ones that are legally within his authority. If we jump into this SPLOST thinking it will eliminate the storm water 'tax' then find out it doesn't, we'll be stuck with both.... and still stuck with Brown as well.

PTC Observer's picture

Does all this storm water tax talk come about through some mandate given out by the EPA under the Clean Water Act by any chance?

After all all roads lead to DC. Sounds like a great "public works" job program to me.

If the EPA has mandated a storm water "tax", then it appears to me a SPLOST will just add an additional "dumb idea" onto this already "dumb idea".
The "storm water department" has an average $600,000 annual cost for administrative site. If a new storm drain cost the county $250,000 to replace, and we've only had two that's failed so far, shouldn't that $600,000 be used to systematically upgrade these situations? That's 2-1/2 drainage pipes a year that could be taken care of instead of just more government overhead.
I'm certainly not in favor of a SPLOST along with the property bill we'll get ever year, and I don't think the commissioners have the authority to discontinue a federally mandated (by the horrid EPA) "tax".
If I'm wrong, I'd like to be corrected.

Maryland rain tax starts in July....this is identical to our storm water tax. Story very critical of EPA mandating this and Obama admin not allocating any federal funds to help states. Story said all property owners will pay more than $150-200 bucks for this and large businesses (mentioned shopping centers) will pass costs on to retail tenants. Md. Is using GPS imaging to come up with impervious surfaces. I assume this story will be available on Fox's website soon.

So we have another Govt entity abusing its citizens with a "one measurement fits all" policy. It doesn't take a terribly smart person to figure out that the total impervious surface onones property is NOT the most important factor in stormwater runoff--what IS important is what happens to that water. If it's all absorbed into the property--no tax. If there is a Proven runoff from the property into a local stream or water source, then there's a problem. The FC Stormwater folks don't seem to be able to figure that out. It's more bureaucratic direction & decision making at work!

Check this out.

I don't have an answer, I just think the scope of this tax throughout this country is beyond reasonable and fair and there have to be people (smarter than me) who can figure out a better solution. I am glad that a national news outlet is making this problem more visible to the uninformed. Hope the press does more with this mess.

I am also thankful to The Citizen for giving this issue some publicity locally.

PTC Observer's picture

won't this be a nice surprise for Pinewood Studios?

Unfunded Mandates are what the Federal Government does when it wants to buy votes, but the money has run out. Pushing down taxes to unsuspecting citizens in the states continues. Wait until you see what our power bills will look like when power companies can't use coal because of clean air mandates.

The "vision" that the progressive philosophy advocates, will cost us all a ton of money in ever aspect of our lives. The storm water taxes is different because it is more obvious to taxpayers than most. It just isn't "hidden" very well.

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