Ognio: Why Hearn’s switch to support East Bypass, raise taxes?
Does Commissioner Lee Hearn actually think he is correct in his discussion of things the county is doing right?
The money that was raised in the TSPLOST was for adding roads and road improvements to help traffic flow. It has been made very clear that the construction of the West Fayetteville bypass does not accomplish any of these goals.
Commissioner Hearn ignored the citizens asking to stop the wasting the money on the road that was not going to help traffic. Yet, Commissioner Hearn told me that more citizens were in favor of the West Fayetteville bypass than against it.
He also ignored the fact that in 2010 commissioners Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell were both voted out of office. That vote was based mainly on their support for the West Fayetteville Bypass. Just for Commissioner Hearn’s information, the majority voted them out.
The citizens should know the facts and then decide if they think Commissioner Hearn was involved in any wrongdoing (as he puts it).
The fact is that he left his job as public works director in May of 2007 and later that year the road route was confirmed. As public works director he was in the position to influence the commissioners about the road location before he left.
Also, there is the fact that Commissioner Hearn nominated Mr. Addison Lester as his friend from church to serve on the Board of Elections. Mr. Addison Lester was elected to the Board of Elections as the Fayette County commissioners’ representative.
Later we learned, not from Commissioner Hearn, but from other sources, that Mr. Addison Lester is Commissioner Hearn’s relative and the controller of the Lester Family LTD Partnership that owns a large tract of land (109.67 acres) adjacent to the West Fayetteville Bypass.
Doesn’t this pose yet another problem? Should Commissioner Hearn be running for re-election [while] his relative is on the Board of Elections?
At the commissioners’ retreat, the fact was brought up that Phase 1 of the West Fayetteville Bypass is complete. Phase 2 is under way, and it was said that there is money left over in the TSPLOST. Current Public Works Director Mr. Phil Mallon asked, Do we move on to Phase 3 of the West Fayetteville bypass or do we start the East Fayetteville Bypass?
To my surprise Commissioner Hearn replies that they “should start the East Fayetteville Bypass because it will move more traffic than Phase 3 of the West Fayetteville Bypass.”
Why now is he concerned about which road moves more traffic? He did not take that into consideration before. Maybe it’s because he is going to be running for re-election or he got the part of the West Fayetteville Bypass he wanted, now he can abandon it.
These are the facts; now the citizens can decide.
Commissioner Hearn talks about reserve money. But if they are doing so well saving money, why did he vote to raise taxes?
He also voted to impose a stormwater fee on all Fayette County property owners, including churches. The citizens need to realize that before this stormwater fee it was paid for out of the general fund. But, when they passed the stormwater fee, they did not lower the tax rate.
So this new fee actually becomes another tax increase. I don’t know why you would want to put another burden on churches. Churches in the county are an asset to our community. Let’s not force them to leave the county.
As for the board “saving money” on items like refinancing the Justice Center and the Water System, that is their job. But, yet again, Commissioner Hearn failed to tell you that they borrowed even more money for the water system improvements.
Randy C Ognio
Candidate for commissioner Post3