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Fayette Commission in 3-to-2 vote says ‘no’ to referendum on shifting sales tax

A majority of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners refused Thursday night to allow a fall referendum in which voters could choose whether to divert remaining transportation sales tax funds as proposed by Commissioner Steve Brown.

Brown’s presentation came immediately before the commission’s public hearing on the budget after the board decided to handle Brown’s presentation first.

Ultimately the proposal was voted down by commissioners Herb Frady, Lee Hearn and Robert Horgan. Only Brown and Commissioner Allen McCarty voted in favor of the referendum.

Brown suggested the county had a significant amount of unfunded projects that were necessities that could be funded by the transportation SPLOST funds, which were authorized by county voters in 2003 by a slight majority.

Among the needs cited by Brown were for a new emergency operations center capable of withstanding severe weather, technology upgrades countywide, a new roof on the county’s administrative building and a large amount of funding for vehicle replacements.

Later in the meeting, County Finance Director Mary Holland noted the county has $6 million on hand that can be used for vehicle replacements and that the county departments would be approached to determine what vehicles need to be replaced so they can be purchased as necessary.

Brown also suggested that the county could divert the transportation SPLOST funds toward “the largest single property tax cut in Fayette County history” with the caveat that he would ask for more money the following budget year to fund the needed county purchases that he accused the previous commissions of neglecting.

Brown’s move also stood to halt construction of the West Fayetteville Bypass, which was advocated by most of those who addressed the commission during the budget public hearing. He did however, agree to fund land acquisition for the road using transportation sales tax funds.

In countering Brown’s presentation, Commissioner Horgan said the new Georgia law that Brown wanted to use for the fund diversion was designed to help communities use encumbered funds for projects that were indeed unfeasible.

Horgan also said the commission has indeed held back on purchases to build up the $8 million “rainy day” extra surplus funding over the past several years. Horgan also rapped Brown for not attending the first full-day budget workshop between the commission and county staff in late May. Brown later noted that he missed that meeting because he was coaching the science olympiad team from Booth Middle School as they were out of town for the national competition.

Brown noted that he got up to speed on the budget following the budget workshop.

Frady said he thought Brown “did a good job of painting doom and gloom” but the legislature didn’t intend House BIll 240 to be used in the way Brown proposed.

Hearn quoted extensively from a Standard and Poors evaluation earlier this year of Fayette County’s financial picture, which was considerably favorable and praised the county for being able to weather the financial storm of lower property taxes the past several years much better than many other local governments.

The evaluation was done as part of the process for evaluating the county’s refinancing of the 2001 bonds to finance the Fayette County Justice Center, and Hearn said he thought that was equivalent to an independent, unbiased assessment of the county’s financial condition.

Noting the use of $3 million in recently built up cash reserves, Brown has contended the county’s budget is “unsustainable.”

Commissioner McCarty suggested the county seek a legal opinion from the Georgia Attorney General as to what the county can and cannot do under HB 240. He said he favored using the transportation SPLOST revenues to lower county taxes.

McCarty added that he felt county staff did an excellent job in preparing and presenting the budget, and that if any more cuts were to be made, the county would truly be cutting services.

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Comments

short of mayhem that is. These three do not care anything about the citizens. They must really be looking to a big reward from that bypass--cause they sure 'ain't' getting one when they go through those pearly gates---suddenly I feel the need for a cigarette and I don't even smoke but I sure feel we have been royally s----d.

suggarfoot's picture

have just screwed the working Mother with several small children paying the taxes and taking care of their kids.

I hope you guys are real proud of yourselves. The public asked you not to.

But looks like your personal needs got the best to you.

Hearn, Frady, and Horgan...you are the scum of the earth.

Dondol's picture

You just trough dirt on your own Political Coffins. The Joker, the Thumper and the Toker, Clown Princes of the Dumb_$$ party. I cant imagine what you two have on the Toker (other than looking the other way about his Pot), but I hope that he has saved some money because I for one am going to make it my business to tell everyone I know not to use his Tranny shop (Probably just a bunch of Pot heads anyway). You know people we can go at this another way, if a petition was presented to council with enough signatures they would have no choice than to put it on the ballet in November. That would be Sweet, we could vote them out of office at the same time we voted down this Debacle.

citizenal's picture

A petition to put it on the ballot. It would be worth a try. These guys need some humbling! A reminder who they work for (and it isn't the highest bidder - do they know that?).

suggarfoot's picture

a petition for a recall is no good. A dishonest politican will always run n get a lawyer and stop you.

This is different. I don't think they could pull that on a petition to have this on the ballot. Any lawyers out there?

petition started I will be glad to help as I am sure others on here (with the exception of Roundhead, Bonkers et al.) would be glad to do their part also.

ginga1414's picture

Five hundred signatures were collected in less than a week.

If you would like to help with the petition, I will be more than happy to meet with you or anyone else.

Just let me know, and we will meet at the Fayetteville Gazebo.

Thanks so much for your interest.

didn't see it before I wrote mine. I will try to work out something to meet you the first part of this coming week--will put a note on here. Thanks, something has to be done.

Dondol's picture

Let me know when you plan on being there, I will be more than happy to collect signatures to try and thwart the Joker, Toker & Thumper.

Dondol's picture

Let me know when you plan on being there, I will be more than happy to collect signatures to try and thwart the Joker, Toker & Thumper.

IMHO.

suggarfoot's picture

their shenanigans have cost them any hope of re election, but more importantly, they will cost us higher taxes.

No matter how much lipstick they smear on it, they took the taxpayer's rights away to decide their own future with their own money.

If they felt the people would have voted for the bypass, they would have put it be on the ballot. Plain and simple.

They knew we their precious bypass wouldn't survive.

Not only will we not get a much needed break on our taxes, they will in fact go up. County workers will loose their jobs.

They have made themselves the 3 most despized people in the county.

NUK_1's picture

Or Maxwell or Smith for that matter before then.

If anyone wants to know how this commission ended up with Hearn, Horgan and Frady running the show, look at how hard Randall Johnson endorsed and supported them because he couldn't stand Wells-Dunn-Pfeiffer "messing in his bidness." Fortunately, Johnson's influence is dropping quickly and his endorsements of Smith/Maxwell last time obviously failed, even if that also meant getting Brown/McCarty instead. Should have voted bald-headed Cyclist like me :)

Hopefully this whole fiasco wakes up a lot of slumbering people in FC and brings forth much better candidates next year and in the future. While Frady likely retires and I don't see Horgan even trying for re-election, Hearn is certainly dumb enough and will probably be instructed by God that he has to run again.

Probably because you didn't vote, period!

NUK_1's picture

You have quite the habit of multi-paragraph posts on subjects you have seemingly zero idea or knowledge about, and at least you kept this one really short but stuck to the same theme of "talking out your backside" with no knowledge of reality. Good work. If you could read and understand, you'd see who I voted for, but I guess that's asking a little much from you.

Contrast this recent blast of cluelessness with your BS about Randy Gaddo, who you stated that you had no idea about who he was or anything he did, but that didn't stop you from going on a very long diatribe of ignorance anyway and defending moron Haddix as usual just to be "special."
At least you kept it short and sweet this time.

You said you didn't vote for any of them! I guess you meant the ones who didn't get elected?

About Mr. Gaddo----my subject was the authority of management, the Mayor, and the town council, not Mr. Gaddo.

Elections do count!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Shouldn't be that hard to elect a couple of candidates who will make a referendum (albeit a special and expensive one) their signature campaign issue. Get 'em elected and move on.

Only flaw is how much of the money these 3 clowns can spend in the next year. Probably need someone like David Worley to come along and sue them for something unrelated, but something that will hold up the spending for a year or so. Something like Indian burial mounds or an endangered lizard habitat. Got to be creative.

Of course that immediately elevates Brown to County Commission Chair and local folk hero, but - can't believe I'm actually going to say this, but maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing after looking at how the 3 amigos conduct business.

Live free or die!

Been there...done that. Remember when nobody thought Brown & McCarty stood a chance? Problem is that nobody realized just how good the 2010 S & M School of Political Indoctrination was. But the next election is over a year away, and Herb's trio can clobber our coffers in the meantime.

Can you name anybody who could've convinced the "3 clowns" to vote against the West Fayetteville Bypass? I say it's mathematically impossible to win, no matter who we might have in the other two seats. That's a disappointment to the majority who voted for Brown & McCarty, or anybody else who touted transparency.

Amazing how such an unpopular project could produce commissioners who would be willing to endure everlasting ridicule for supporting it.

When I was a kid, there were party favors with strips of paper you could pull until you found the one that popped. That's what we've been doing for years, but there are still lots more to go.

BTW, Brown made an outstanding presentation to six deaf ears.

"Outstyanding Presentations" mean little if anything if the vote goes wrong.

Many are made for votes next time though!

I don't like the West Fayette bypass project either....but there is a big injustice when guys like Steve Brown, Harold Bost and Gregg Dunn criticize any public figure...after the way they have conducted shameful politics and personal vendettas in the past. All 3 of these men (and a lot of their cronies) are some of the most arrogant, self-centered, boastful, mean-spirited people to rear their heads in Fayette County. Harold Bost always seems to find some issue to stir up to incite anger and discontent. I think it is time for Frady and Horgan to go, but fear that Bost will again push one of his lackeys to the front and that person will be worst for our county than they ones they replace. We don't need another Steve Brown on the Commission. Why can't we get somebody who actually has the best interests of our community elected? Seems impossible because it seem only the self-centered ones offer themselves for office.

Stooges I will take a Steve Brown any day. If you look in your dictionary under arrogant, self-centered, mean-spirited you will see an 8x10 glossy of those Three Stooges. Who are those three looking out for anyway? Certainly not after the people of Fayette County who have made their wishes known time after time? Sure makes you wonder doesn't it??

Gosh Huntman, got any examples of “Harold Bost or Gregg (sic) Dunn conducting shameful politics and personal vendettas”? I can’t think of any but maybe you are more knowledgeable. Please advise us.
Perhaps we can get you to run as “somebody who has the best interests of our community elected (sic).” You could be the someone who isn’t “self centered”. Thanks for stepping up.

suggarfoot's picture

I like Brown, Bost, and Dunn.

I admire Steve Brown and he is exactly what we need in that office. You saw how even with him standing up to those 3, they still got their way. A milder person would have been toast from the start. I admire him cause he tells it like it is. He stood up to them about HB 240. By pushing it like he did, he showed Frady, Horgan, and Hearn for what they are. He could have gone in there and just done the status quo but that isn't what he promised the people.

Harold Bost seems to have always had the people's interest at heart. I understand he is rich, but what I've seen of him, he is out to help the little man. I think he never forgot his roots, and again, I respect him too. I'm under the impression he had to move or something. Things come up in life.

Greg Dunn is strong and never let developers or special interest groups push him around. Strong leaders are what we need. I think Dunn, Pfeifer, and Wells were very good in office.

I guess what they all have in common in my eyes is honesty, loyalty to the people, and strong enough to push back when pushed. None of them are easily intimidated by anyone. I've found them all to stand on the side of what is right for the common person.

But I am not "common" and I don't know of many except you who will admit to being common!

I don't know what a "strong" leader is!

Brown is OK overall, but he knew that road would be built all along. Just a political stand in this case which was useless!

Reminds me of the congressional budget fight now in Washington. They both know that they will compromise just before the eleventh hour but will have sustained their voters by "trying." Voters are stupid when it comes to talk by their party leaders! They want to hear stuff!

You almost made a good point but darn if you didn't miss. The situation is just like Congress because the county is also spending more money than they actually have.

Changing the prioritization of funds like Steve Brown suggested is the right idea. He's cutting the waste to fund what we really need. THIS IS WHAT CONGRESS CAN'T DO!!!

suggarfoot's picture

"Brown is OK overall, but he knew that road would be built all along. Just a political stand in this case which was useless!"

Wrong, if the people had gotten to vote on it, the odds are IT WOULDN'T BE BUILT. That is why Frady, Horgan, and Hearn weren't going to take a chance.

They stole our money and our rights for the betterment of their friends and family...end of story.

Some would call that corrupt. I would.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote] We don't need another Steve Brown on the Commission.[/quote]

[quote] Why can't we get somebody who actually has the best interests of our community elected? Seems impossible because it seem only the self-centered ones offer themselves for office.[/quote]

For the answer to your second quote please refer to the first. Everyone here seems to agree that what Mr Brown proposed was the right thing for the people. Yet many still slam him for his "drama" and "theatrics". I could not promise that I too might not react as he did after the way he was treated. So you can sit there and go along or you can fight the system. Either way you get slammed. Why would anyone do this job for the pay? ($23K a year) Only way to make it worthwhile is to take money from outside sources to protect their interests. And I bet they are appreciative.

I would never run for office in this county. I've read too much here in these blogs.

said on here about Steve Brown. No one is perfect and he certainly isn't but no matter what the conversation was about someone always stuck his name into the mix. You would have to have a very thick skin to run for any office (of course if you are like some present 'public servants' it would probably be worth your while to put up with a little aggrivation for the bennies; especially when you think you were appointed by the Guy Upstairs and are above reproach, or recall).

Did you see the baseball movie where the ghost told the fellow to "build it and they will come?"

Same with roads--always has been!

If you really want people, just build a big airport or a railroad.

I wish people would forget that Steve Brown is the one that is pointing out all the flaws of our current commission. Some people are more disturbed by the messenger then the message. The message is "the people be damned". A government that works for itself and not the people, could be considered corrupt. This information should disturb any citizen regardless where the information came from. Not allowing the voters to decide this issue once and for all, should tell you, they are not interested in what that result would be. They also know the result would not be in their favor. These men are beholden to something much bigger then the people. Government of, for and by the people is not language they are familiar with. What a sad state of affairs for Fayette County taxpayers.

It would be impossible to allow every decision be made by a referendum vote!

If that was allowed, it would then occur every time.

We wouldn't even need an elected commission---we could just vote every week on the list! Would create a bunch of jobs to count the votes!

Then an appeals process would be sure to come up and we still would get nothing done!

A ferw score of people fussing about a road is insignificant.

If the commissioners do something illegal, then let us take them to court.

Stop this foolishness!

suggarfoot's picture

it is a LOT of overburdened people who don't want higher taxes and that is exactly what is now going to happen

"It would be impossible to allow every decision be made by a referendum vote."

We have an election comming up this fall and it would have been a perfect time to confirm with the citizens if they still wanted something that was kicked around many years ago.

We are in bad shape, people are losing their jobs and their houses. It isn't the time for developer welfare.

Frady, Hearn, and Horton, have not only stolen our right to decide our destiny, they have stolen our money and are using it in the best interest of their friends and families!

ginga1414's picture

In less than a week, a handful of folks have secured 500 signatures on a petition requesting our commissioners to grant a referendum to utilize HB-240.

Five hundred signatures is far more than an insignificant few. Believe me, Round, that number is increasing as we speak.

Was not able to get to the meeting last night but am definitely interested in signing any petition and know there must be others.

ginga1414's picture

I will be happy to meet anyone who wants to sign the petition tomorrow at the Fayetteville Gazebo outside the commission meeting room diagonally across from our old Courthouse Square, Saturday, June 25th at 12:00 P.M. (noon).

I will have blank copies of the petition if anyone wants to help gather signatures.

EVERY SIGNATURE COUNTS!

SOME FOLKS TURNED IN PETITIONS WITH ONLY THREE SIGNATURES. EACH ONE OF THOSE THREE SIGNATURES WAS GREATLY APPRECIATED AND WILL SEND A LOUD AND CLEAR MESSAGE TO OUR COMMISSIONERS! EACH SIGNATURE IS A VOTE FOR THE PEOPLE OF FAYETTE COUNTY!

"When I was back there in Seminary School"
"There was a person there"
"Who put forth the proposition"
"That you can petition the Lord with prayer"
"Petition the Lord with prayer"
"Petition the Lord with prayer"
"You cannot petition the Lord with prayer"
(The Doors)

BTW, you can't petition the FC Council and expect it to have any effect either.

Why don't you just threaten them, again, with another lawsuit?

How’d that work out the last time you threatened it?

Don't know how many petitions to the Lord were made about this new law, but apparently it didn't work!

A gathering of scoundrels trying to impress the Creator and His Son to interfere into man's stupid games is simply the mob's way of saying I can't do it, will You?

Such things are only between private souls and their own minds! They know when they are right or when they are wrong. No amount of group shouting and emotion will change anything---never has, never will.

They only impress other sinners----poorly.

Sunday around 1:30 or if some place else is more convenient for yu--I will be coming from Peachtree City.

ginga1414's picture

That works for me. Sunday at 1:30 P.M. If anyone else is interested, I will be at the Fayetteville Gazebo at 1:30 on Sunday, June 26th, with petitions in hand.

Yeah, I can be there the third friday night of the next leap year if the moon shines brightly! Papers in hand.

This is worse than the coffee klatches as to danger and problems!

Watch all those cameras clicking and movie people filming.

It just doesn't work to comment on here and then meet for a chat! When you meet that is the end of saying what you think and solving problems!

Have you read any of the local celebrities who write columns or letters to the editor on here? They all say the same thing--pound on the elected officials and not a word about crooked developers, bankers, editors, police screw-ups, or budget reductions!

I'll be glad to expose you as the blowhard you are.

You and your ilk have done nothing to benefit the citizens of FC.

You and your kind make threats, promises and actuations and NEVER follow up on any of them.

disagree that is one thing but to show such hatred and anger----

ginga1414's picture

I have not threatened anyone. However, you sound as if you are threatening me!

The terminology you have used in your comment plus the quote at the end of your post seems quite threatening to me.

"Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoset" is a quote adopted by the Marines and Green Berets. It translates to "Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out," or "Kill them all. God will know His own."

You "threatened" the FC Council with a lawsuit and it evaporated once the ARMY Corp of engineers disagreed with your position.

You’re the one that "promised" people a lawsuit against the WFB and failed to follow through.

Your attempt at a petition is nothing less than another empty threat as you and I both know it has and will have NO effect on FC.

I have no ill will towards you or BS directly but the two of you seem hell bent on isolating FC from the rest of the Atlanta metro area and in doing so you will facilitate the death of FC.

The "petition" and the lawsuit were the products of a large group of individuals. Nobody "promised" anything.

BTW, if you feel that stopping the West Bypass would "kill" Fayette County, you ought to attend the next commissioners meeting and be the first person to offer a public comment in its favor. I'm sure they would be very grateful, and you just might turn the tide.

ginga1414's picture

The suit you are speaking of was initiated by the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition.

As with every other organization, individual, family, and government, our depressed economy had its way with the Coalition's finances.

Many members of the WFBC worked very hard to ensure that HB-240 was passed by the State Legislature. We did that, bad, because of the economy.

The economy has had a very detrimental effect on every county in the State of Georgia

Poor financial practices are the reasons Fayette County is stuck with empty schools and classrooms.

Poor financial practices are the reasons Fayette County is stuck with acreage that can't be sold.

Rivers Elementary School was built before the need was there. Now, we are stuck with a school that was supposed to hold over 600 students and there are approximately 40 students in that school.

I know that there are Limited Family Partnerships and developers just itching to develop and build on the almost 1500 acres of former farm land along the West Bypass. On the other hand, however, three weeks ago I counted 122 home foreclosures listed in one of our local papers. There is something very wrong with that picture.

The county paid one homeowner along the WFB route far more that what the appraisal said it was worth.

The county has made another WFB homeowner an offer of $77,000 in DAMAGES.

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO KILL FAYETTE COUNTY ARE THE GREEDY PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO OVER BUILD AND OVER DEVELOP IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE A FORTUNE FOR THEMSELVES.

AS ONE OF OUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS SAID WHEN A CITIZEN TRIED TO DISCUSS THE IMPACT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WFB WILL HAVE ON OUR COUNTY BUDGET, "I DON'T CARE."

IN OTHER WORDS, HE DOESN'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO FAYETTE COUNTY OR HER CITIZENS!

Bad, have you watched any of the videos of the commission meetings on YouTube?

Have you ever been to a commission meeting?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

posted a blank form as a .pdf on here or elsewhere and link to it so we could print it, sign it, get friends and neighbors to sign it and then send it in. I will see about 50 people at 2 different events this weekend and I am certain the subject of these 3 tin pot dictators will come up. Be nice if I had a petition in hand as a possible solution.

A couple thousand signatures is not impossible, although I'm not sure what happens after that.

Live free or die!

ginga1414's picture

You have an excellent idea. However, I have tried repeatedly to post the pdf file with the petition and it just won't accept the file.

I am in the process of getting technical assistance on the problem.

I really hate to pass up all of the signatures you could collect. I will most assuredly be at the Gazebo tomorrow, Sunday June 26th at 1:30 P.M. and could give you copies of the petition then.

Thank you so much for your interest.

G35 Dude's picture

I was in Fayetteville today so I stopped by the Gazebo to sign the petition around 12:15. No one was there?????

ginga1414's picture

I am so very sorry that you went to the trouble of being at the Gazebo today.

MYTMITE had to change the day and time because of work, and I guess you must have missed that post.

Please forgive the mix-up. I will most assuredly be there tomorrow, Sunday, at 1:30 P.M., rain or shine.

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