T-SPLOST: Bad deal for PTC taxpayers
Let me start by saying that I am a proud citizen of the USA and the state of Georgia. That said, I believe (as did our nation’s founders) that the best government is the most local government. As such, in governmental matters my concerns are (in this order) Peachtree City, Fayette County, Georgia, and U.S (federal).
With this in mind, I did some data collection related to the T-SPLOST. I focused my questions not on if this is good for Georgia, or Fayette County, or Atlanta (note that Atlanta is not even on my list above), but rather is this a good deal for Peachtree City. I also must preface this by stating that I am not a statistician.
According to the website City-Data.com, PTC in 2010 had a population of about 34,400. Data provided on this newspaper last week showed that census data records 2.78 people per household in Fayette County. Using this data, division suggests about 12,374 households in PTC. Data derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2010 suggests an annual household expenditure for food, clothing and services, entertainment, and ‘other’ of about $13,600.
I intentionally left out transportation and insurance and other items that may not be impacted by the tax. Given the households and the average expenditures, a very rough estimate of PTC taxable expenditures would be $168 million per year. One percent of that comes to $1.68 million per year from PTC to the transportation fund. Assuming flat growth, this totals an investment from PTC over 10 years of $16.8 million.
What is planned for PTC using this fund? Three projects apply: TIA-FA-010, a $1.21 million golf cart path; TIA-FA-022, another cart path priced at $1.15 million; and the MacDuff bypass project to allow a bypass of the Ga. highways 54/74 intersection (TIA-FA-005) priced at $6.4 million.
We have been told that Fayette County would not be a donor county to this huge fund but it is very clear that PTC will absolutely be a donor.
Again, other Fayette and regional projects not withstanding, the direct return on investment for PTC residents using my rough estimates is $8.76 million returned from $16.8 million invested, or about 50 cents on the dollar.
Since it is likely that I have underestimated the revenue received using a flat model, the return on investment will probably be much less.
Now, there is also the matter of $25 million that is supposed to come back to Fayette County over 10 years that is for undefined projects, but given the historical actions of our county government, there is little reason to believe that the donated $8 million (minimum) will make its way back to PTC.
Even if we were fully reimbursed for our revenue input, we in effect voluntarily give our money to a larger government organization and then are supposed to be satisfied when we get it back (if you consider a cart path that you may never use getting it back).
This is in the model of the federal government and we all know how well that is working.
PTC could fund all three of the above projects by assessing each household an additional $230 per year for three years or $70 per year for 10 years. Now it becomes personal and we as a city decide if the two paths are worthy and if we want to build the bypass.
That is how local government is supposed to work. I see no value to our giving away even more of our self-governance via a regional authority.
I am a resident of Peachtree City, Fayette County, Georgia, and the USA. I have not knowingly elected anyone to represent me in an Atlanta Regional Authority, and given the population and economic disparities present in this region, it should be no surprise that this is a bad deal for Peachtree City.
Peachtree City, Ga.