Fayette Chamber on fence about regional sales tax vote
The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce has not taken a stance either for or against the proposed 1 percent regional transportation sales tax referendum, slated for July 2012.
The Chamber, however, is encouraging residents and local business owners to get up to speed on the projects, said Chamber President Virginia Gibbs.
“I think our thought is that it’s just really important for people to be informed and that’s what we’re doing to this point, trying to understand the projects and understand the process,” Gibbs said. “So we’re trying to encourage folks to be involved and be educated.”
Gibbs said the Chamber board and its government affairs committee have been working to get more facts on the projects up for funding by the sales tax, which will be in the hands of voters in the July 2012 primary election.
As of now, the Chamber has not developed a position either for or against the sales tax, Gibbs said.
If the tax is approved, Fayette County is projected to pay in $190 million toward the $6 billion-plus regionwide take on the 10-year tax. In return, the county will get some $186.8 million in direct returns: both from the projects slated to be built here and also from a $45 million chunk that will be spun off to the various local governments to use on any transportation project they wish.
Fayette commuters also will likely benefit from some other transportation projects outside the county, chiefly the reorganization of the often-clogged interchange of Interstate 85 and Ga. Highway 74 North in Fairburn.
Some opponents have claimed the sales tax, if enacted, would result in the largest single tax increase in Georgia history. Opponents have also been critical that half of the region-wide proceeds will go towards mass transit bus and rail projects.
All of Fayette County’s projects are for road or cart path construction only, with no transit bus or rail projects proposed for Fayette.
The project list for the sales tax is expected to be adopted Oct. 13 at a meeting of the regional transportation roundtable, a 21-member consortium of elected officials from each of the 10 counties in metro Atlanta. Fayette’s representatives on the roundtable are Fayette County Commission Chairman Herb Frady and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele.
It is possible that the sales tax could be voted down within Fayette County, but approved region-wide. If that occurs, the tax would still be assessed here in Fayette County for the full 10-year length of the proposal.