Lentz: No longer support SPLOST
I have asked the Peachtree City Council to determine if the Core Infrastructure SPLOST is even legal and, if not, to take whatever action may be required, including a lawsuit, to take the issue off the November ballot. Please do not think I want to deny the citizenry the option of deciding the issue; I just don’t want to have an issue that is illegal on the ballot.
I’m not a lawyer; however, I do have a finely tuned sense of right and wrong. And, there are several things wrong with the SPLOST.
First, the Fayette County commissioners have gone on record as saying that stormwater management functions in the unincorporated county will be paid from the general fund, which includes taxes paid by citizens of Peachtree City, Tyrone, and Fayetteville, who are already paying for stormwater management functions in those cities. This double taxation is surely wrong.
Second, the commissioners’ so-called Core Infrastructure Plan for spending SPLOST money, although weak in details and long on smoke-and-mirrors, seems to indicate that some of the money will be used for the benefit and improvement of private property. It also seems to show that these private property owners will be paid for right-of-way so that other taxpayers may improve this private property. This is surely wrong.
Third, the commissioners have conflated their traditional role of road maintenance with their federally-mandated but unfunded responsibility for stormwater management. The so-called plan seems to indicate that sales taxes would be used for what seems to be road maintenance. (Forgive me if I’m vague: the plan, itself, is even more vague).
If these are, indeed, road projects, then the entire SPLOST should be dedicated to road projects and the “sharing” with the cities, in a transparent attempt to buy votes, is wrong.
Fourth, the commissioners have abandoned the approved and passed stormwater fee, which would assess each property owner based on the amount of impermeable surfaces (usually meaning roofs and pavement), and are now exempting many property owners from paying their fair share toward stormwater management. This, too, is wrong.
Finally, the commissioners have rejected, ignored, shoved aside, and ridiculed citizen input including suggestions that could save money and concerns about pollution being channeled into the water supply, among others. This is wrong, too. I hope that folks will remember this come next county election.
I am capable of changing my mind. I wrote, about eight weeks ago in a letter printed more recently, that I planned to vote for the SPLOST because I thought it was a good way for Peachtree City to get money for needed street and cart path repair, and for a much needed traffic study.
I still think the repairs and the study need to be done; however, I no longer think the SPLOST is the right way to do that.
Peachtree City, Ga.