Emails detail slugging match over stormwater SPLOST

Local environmentalist Dennis Chase has said he cannot support a list of stormwater projects proposed for funding with a countywide two-year sales tax that will be voted on in November.

Chase is questioning proposals to renovate dams on privately-owned lakes, which would put the county on the hook for future maintenance and liability if the dam were somehow to be breached, causing downstream flooding, in the future.

Estimates for the two dam repair projects eclipse $1.1 million each, according to information from the county.

Chase, in an email he sent to others earlier this month, also blamed county officials for using “scare tactics to convince us we are in dire need of replacing culverts.”

“In this case it is not only the sky that is falling but rather, according to them, our roads!” Chase wrote. “There may be a location or two to watch, but trust me, you will not fall into a hole in the road any time soon.”

Chase contends that many of the road culverts are functioning fine now and could last another 10-15 years, and that the county needs a drainage master plan to avoid future stormwater problems from projects that are built upstream.

County Commission Chairman Steve Brown responded to Chase’s email by pointing out that there currently is no “sufficient source of revenue” to replace stormwater infrastructure in the county.

“We put a lot of work into that proposal,” Brown wrote. “All I would ask is that you at least, out of courtesy, give me a call or email with your concerns.”

Chase later agreed to meet this week with county officials about the project list.

Brown noted that the county had specifically provided Chase with a personal copy of a three-ring binder released last week with details on nearly every project proposed for the $16.8 million in funding. The information is also available on the county’s web site at www.fayettecountyga.gov.

Brown added that state officials are pressing the county to come up for solutions to the dam projects.

“I am disappointed that we put that much work into the Core Infrastructure SPLOST projects and put in countless hours just to get you your own personal project list notebook (which NEVER happened with the previous SPLOSTs) on the date we promised you and you are already sending out emails trashing the work without even sharing your thoughts or concerns with me, after breaking my neck to make sure you were always included in our process,” Brown wrote in his reply to Chase’s original email.

If the sales tax is approved, county property owners will be able to avoid an annual stormwater fee for four years.

County Commissioner David Barlow said he agreed with Brown’s comments and asked Chase to produce alternative solutions.

“It is easy to criticize and complain,” Barlow wrote. “Real leadership is recognizing the problem, developing solutions (citizen input) and implementing the best solution.”

Chase responded that he thinks “gathering a huge pot of money for a ‘list’ is not leadership.”

“That is old government style of throwing a lot of money at a perceived problem and maybe we will hit a solution,” Chase wrote. “If it is your personal money, fine, do whatever you wish, but don’t ask taxpayers to pony up $20-plus million for problems that are questionable. Don’t expect me to support going after a ‘list’ when there is no overall plan in place to address the need.”

Chase’s original email on the topic was critical of proposals that would replace long sections of culvert on private property as well on land that is listed on plats as being “easements” but in reality may not be fully executed easements.

“If the county now assumes responsibility, by entering the property to do work, we are stuck forever,” Chase said.

Chase said the project list included information he has been seeking from the county for the past several years, adding that the county has gone to considerable expense to compile the list.

The proposed stormwater repairs would be funded with the county’s portion of the two-year sales tax, while Fayette’s cities would also get a portion of the tax to spend on their own projects. Peachtree City has initially planned to earmark tax proceeds for street and cart path repair while Fayetteville is still working on its project list.

The SPLOST will go before the voters in a special countywide referendum this November.

pumpkin
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Mrs Jolly Your Real-a-tor

is probably your sit ins at meetings and many other issues you know of. sorry jolly you may be in over your head.

americanpatriots
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Mr. Jolly

As I said earlier, neither you or the current Mayor will be involved in the decision anyway, so I won't waste any more of my time responding to your blogs.

johenry
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Mr. Jolly

Actually it's Mrs. Henry but I know it's hard to tell.

I'm not sure you've thought the thing through. I think your intentions are probably good but how do you fix the roads and cart paths in PTC??

If the city council was going to use the SPLOST to repair roads and cart paths then how would you do it otherwise?? You would have to raise property taxes!!

Like Commissioner Barlow said in the news story it's real easy to criticize. You're talking about "hard choices" in budgeting but you don't say what you would do. That's what Harold Logsdon did and he failed miserably.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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Mrs. Henry

Mrs. Henry,

First, sorry for miss identifying you.

Yes I have thought this through for a long time. Roads and cart paths are items that will need constant repair as they are used daily. These type of items should always have been in our cities yearly budget.

If our city would sit down and separate the Needs from the Wants, we would have a better handle on our finances. A example of a Need is road and cart maintenance, a Want is a new bubble for Kedron Pool.

A question you should be asking is why hasn't the issue of road and cart maintenance been addressed before the last SPOLST ran out? Do we continue to tax everything extra every time our city can't get a handle on its finances?

It would be as a parent continuing to pay for an adult child's living expenses when the adult child doesn't learn to live within their budget and keeps their hand out. The adult child will never learn and continue going back for a handout.

Also, no one is discussing the fact that more residence of Fayette County (including all cities) will shop in surrounding counties more if the taxes are cheaper. Many in Clayton County West side shop in Fayetteville because the sales taxes are cheaper here then in their home county. So, when we raise (renew) our SPLOST some will re-evaluate whether it makes financial sense to continue doing so. Many in PTC shop in Newnan now, and if sales taxes increase many citizens will increase their shopping in Coweta, due to the lower taxes. Also, many who would support a local business, may find internet shopping even more appealing and skip the sales tax all together (yes I know your supposed to report your internet sales for taxation in your Georgia 1040, but we know most don't)

Taxation to support bad choices is never the option.

Thank you for writing and don't forget to vote in November.

Ryan Jollt

johenry
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Mr. Jolly

If the city didn't put a bubble on the pool, the taxpayers who paid for the facility couldn't use it in the cold months. My grandchildren do swim team practice over there under that bubble. I think the last bubble lasted over 10 years.

A penny's difference in the sale tax isn't going to be that big a difference. I shop at Kroger in Peachtree City and a change in sales tax isn't going to make me do my grocery shopping in Sharpsburg because that would be inconvenient. Now I do go to the Belk in Ashley Park only because I'm afraid to shop at the one in the Pavilion and that's nothing to do with sales tax. But I only go to Belk maybe twice a year. I was told Coweta and Fulton have higher sales taxes than we do.

So thinking we will not need another bubble for 10 years what would you cut in the budget to pay for roads and cart paths? Give us some specific examples please.

Look I agree when you say, "Taxation to support bad choices is never the option." I think roads and cart paths are good choices.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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Mrs. Henry

Why do we as tax payers subsidize the Kedron Pool. Why not make it self supporting. Let it charge to every person (and school that uses it) the appropriate fee so as no tax dollars are needed to fund it?

PS the buble has been replaced more then once in the last 10 years

I don't mind the pool itself, but the idea of more and more money being dumped into it. If it is a drain maybe it needs to be sold to a private company to run efficiently.

For simply groceries, yes many may buy around the corner. But, for higher ticket items people will shop around and find the best deal (including how much tax they pay)

Again, in 2005 Our county asked for a SPLOST and PTC wanted it for roads and maintenance. Did we ever once try to rearrange our priorities in our budget to include this?? No, why would they with the additional monies flowing in.

If elected I will make sure the city budget is printed in a way so, in advance, all items (by department) are listed so we can all see the expenditures are addressed.

Are their more items that need to be removed? Of course.

Are their other maintenance items that need to be placed in the regular budget that are not? Of course.

More information will be provided by my campaign as the season rolls on.

Thank you for taking time to write ad don't forget to vote in November.

Ryan Jolly

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Corrections

There are a lot of corrections that could be said here, but I will only mention one. The Bubble was 16 years old when the replacement began. It has only been replaced one time.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com

americanpatriots
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Mr. Jolly

I realize you are a political neophyte and have no clue about stormwater issues or anything else that I been able to discern from your campaign blogs and letters to the editors.

I go to virtually every commission meeting and have never seen you at a single one.

The commissioners held a series of stormwater meetings and listened to the packed crowd of voters that offered several possible solutions, but the one they favored was a countywide SPLOST.

Where were you during these meetings?

What alternatives do you and our soon-to be-defeated Mayor offer?

Whether you or the current Mayor agrees with what the voters recommended or not is totally irrevalent in my opinion because neither one of you will be in office after the current election.

Several prior county commissioners and the Fayette County city councils failed to address the stormwater issues for many years and simply kicked the can further down the road and now the lack of maintenance can no longer be ignored.

The current commissioners and the city councils have worked out a compromise agreement that will benefit each party. Is it the best possible solution? Perhaps not, but at least it is an attempt to solve the problem.

Do you or the Mayor understand that non-residents of Fayette County, who use our roads and infrastructure, will help pay the costs to improve and maintain our vital systems?

Husband and Fat...
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Don't lose your cool when I say this, but

Real leaders aren't manipulated by the hysteria of a few loud naysayers. There was a fee in place and commission did the right thing by having the town hall meetings. (Good PR). However the maintenance costs are real and should be accounted for in the costs of running the county or city items. If your idea of good leadership is to kick the can down the road by utilizing a splost, that's your prerogative. I think this should be budgeted every year. If it costs me a little in taxes and it is legit, than I can live with it.

Leadership is doing the right thing even when the loud minority disagree.

Truth is, commission at this point in their tenure would rather be liked by the loud minority than right by budgeting.

What plan is in place should the splost fail? Commission better be ready with a plan for this defeat.

NUK_1
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husband: probably need to avoid the IHOP for a while

americanpatriots will want to give you a "shakedown" for those comments :)

Husband and Fat...
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I was just teasing AP

We all know he just wanted to help Ms. Watts hold on to her position a little while longer. He was successful all by himself. I'm sure all his buddies in the party are thanking him.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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Reply

Americanpatriots,

I have been to meetings, but as of the last 60 days I have not due to my personal business schedule, I am a quiet individual that watches and learns. And as many in our town agree, I didn't miss much.

Yes, I agree avoiding issues until the last minute is a terrible planning idea, one that I never use in my everyday life (personal or in my own business) I plan on making sure these types of problems are addressed as soon as they surface or are notified of them. Not just kicking the can down the street.

Many in our community have come out to support me, many whom I have never meet until recently. The will of the people will be spoken and we will get the type of city we vote leadership for.

As to your comment:

"Do you or the Mayor understand that non-residents of Fayette County, who use our roads and infrastructure, will help pay the costs to improve and maintain our vital systems?"

Please let me re-post my answer to that question:

"Also, no one is discussing the fact that more residence of Fayette County (including all cities) will shop in surrounding counties more if the taxes are cheaper. Many in Clayton County West side shop in Fayetteville because the sales taxes are cheaper here then in their home county. So, when we raise (renew) our SPLOST some will re-evaluate whether it makes financial sense to continue doing so. Many in PTC shop in Newnan now, and if sales taxes increase many citizens will increase their shopping in Coweta, due to the lower taxes. Also, many who would support a local business, may find internet shopping even more appealing and skip the sales tax all together (yes I know your supposed to report your internet sales for taxation in your Georgia 1040, but we know most don't)"

This is not just only a opinion but a true fact.

Also, let me re-quote again from an earlier post:

"If our city would sit down and separate the Needs from the Wants, we would have a better handle on our finances. A example of a Need is road and cart maintenance, a Want is a new bubble for Kedron Pool."

Thank you for taking the time to write and don't forget to voite in November.

Ryan Jolly

johenry
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Mr. Jolly

What in the world are you saying?? Did you go to any of the town hall meetings they had??

The commissioners look like they're actually trying to do something positive to fix problems that have been building over the years.

What's the alternative?? You really don't seem to ever have any solutions.

I'm not a Haddix fan, but we don't need another Harold Logsdon either and Mr. Jolly looks like another younger version of Hapless Harold.

Husband and Fat...
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The town hall meetings

Were a result of the levy put in place by the previous commission. Many complained. Commission felt it was a good idea to listen to people complain over and over about the same thing. It was so monotonous to listen to this, but I commend commission for sitting thru it.

There is no perfect way to tax this. Every city, county, municipality has to deal with it. From my perspective and study, Athens Clarke County has the best plan in place. Why not just match it and move on?

The reason commission choose the splost was politics. The new guys felt this was the easy way to gain popularity. They can say they listened to the people. They didn't fix the problem. They kicked it down the road for the next commission to deal with it.

Though I think Mr. Chase went about it wrong, he does make a point. Are all the items on the list legit? I know I don't have enough time to inspect each item. However, maybe some do and can comment. Many engineers like to play the doom and gloom, cover their butt game when it comes to these items. Who are we to believe? Is everything on the list really like they say or are they projections?

I am in PTC and I am not voting for the splost. City council should have budgeted for our paths and roads. The county should have budgeted for their infrastructure too. Both governments are claiming great success for meeting the required balanced budget, but we all know its false propaganda. I doubt you budget your family finances on the hope that a family member dies leaving you the insurance policy payout.

What is the backup plan should the splost fail?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Athens-Clark

I think when considering their system it is only fair to note that it isn't Athens, the City, and Clark, the County, but the unified government of Athens-Clark. They are both County and City in one government, no divisions.

The only independent city is Winterville. But, it only has a population of about 1,100.

So, no intergovernmental agreements, no separation of legal identity, powers, responsibility, etc by State Law. No conflicts of County vs City, etc.

That has pluses, but it also has some significant minuses. Think how Fayette would be if we were homogeneous, no differences in zoning laws, goals, sign ordinances, etc.

Peachtree City could not exist as a planned community.

That is why we need a Comprehensive Strategic Plan that considers revenue sources, roads, paths, stormwater, etc in a balanced manner. It has to be a long term Plan. No more blind eyes to needs with too much focus on wants. A check list that every year citizens can look at and see if the course is being stayed or deviated from. Every four years boot whoever is not working to abide by the Plan.

There is no other way it is going to change.

Fleisch and Dienhart have voted to keep doing band aids and more debt and taxes instead of confronting the issues. Logsdon also did band aids and not looking at needs.

Like it or not, I am the only one acknowledging this reality.

People do have a range of choices this year for the future. Up to them come election time.

Husband and Fat...
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Mr. Mayor

I was referring to Athens Clarke County as having one of the best storm water tax and plans that I have been able to find in state. Doesn't really matter the type of govt. They have had a good plan and tax for some time, and recognized long ago that splosts don't work for any maintenance issues.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Understood

The form of government most assuredly matters for delivery of service issues. That nasty little element of meeting State and Federal Laws.

On your point about SPLOSTs, I totally agree. That is why I oppose the SPLOST.

SPLOSTs are successful when they replace Property Tax. SPLOSTs on top of Property Tax are just another tax layer. They are an excuse for elected to say they are not raising your Property Tax while still taxing you more.

Property Tax is the most unfair form of tax out there. You are punished for owning property because services are delivered to all, property owners or not.

Another problem is, like with this one, a SPLOST runs out. Here, after about 5 years, back to ground zero and needing more money.

If the County got the SPLOST, they will re-institute the Stormwater Fee for year 5 and after. Where does that leave PTC when they say no to another SPLOST thereafter?

We have to have a long term Plan.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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Mr johenry

Johenry,

From at least a PTC standpoint our elected leaders continue to try to avoid budgeting for regular maintenance items (they stated they need the SPLOST to keep maintaining roads and cart paths, and now that the previous SPLOST monies for roads and cart paths has run out they want the citizens to just re-approve another temporary fix). I have not run into a single individual who will be voting in favor of this additional TAX...

Taxing individuals to avoid the hard choices in budgeting is never the answer, just a bandaid. We must sit down and make hard choices on what is a Need and what is a Want. Our city has many Wants in our budget that should be removed before tax increases are ever considered.

As for the county, what do you think they will do in two years when the monies run out??? Probably try another SPLOST of some kind.

I do not like the additional stormwater bills we receive, but I would rather be billed individually for it and be able to keep a better track of it, then have a general fund cover it. Did you know they county was paying it on behalf of county residence's until they could no longer afford to do so???

When it comes to your "younger version of Hapless Harold" that is your view and your right to it.

I have been welcomed greatly since my announcement to run for Mayor of PTC from many people whom I have never met before.

Our city does need new leadership. Each person will run either on their own record or their proposal on their future of PTC.

As others have posted, I agree the SPLOST will fail miserably, and many people (whom may have thought of not even voting in this municiple electiion in November) will not only defeat the SPOLST but help bring PTC back to a place people can say they are pround of their elected leaders (which in our government today many are ashamed)

Thank you for your comments and don't forget to vote in November

Robert W. Morgan
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Dude, smarten up. johenry is one of Steve Brown's phony IDs

You runnin' for mayor and you don't know the brown clown has multiple identities on here? And then you start arguing with one of them? You a fool --- fool.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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reply

I guessed as much, but I like to reply to anyone who takes the time to comment on my posts. Freedom of Speech is a great thing.

Robert W. Morgan
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Uh Ryan, the goal of the election is for Haddix to finish last

Last place in a field of 5 or 6 cements his place in history as the worst mayor ever. That's what we all want. Please don't try to outrun him in a race to the bottom of the barrel. It is starting to look like all candidates will finish in reverse order of how often they post on here - which is as it should be.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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reply

I guessed as much, but I like to reply to anyone who takes the time to comment on my posts. Freedom of Speech is a great thing.

Spyglass
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You aren't doing yourself any favors..

by showing your lack of knowledge about "Freedom of Speech" and its application to local blogs.

Jolly for PTC Mayor
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VOTE NO to SPLOST

SPLOST = Short term fix for long term problems

AtHomeGym
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Stormwater Tax

The major criteria for assessing a charge for unincorporated landowners seems to be the amt of impervious surface on the property. Where that fails is that no property is the same and some may have zero runoff and some may have lots. But there is no effort to determine which is which and so the fee literally becomes a mass punishment.

PTC Observer
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Athomegym

All tax is mass punishment using social democracy governance, it's just a matter of degree.

Tax is rational to protect our individual Rights and nothing else.

PTC Observer
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Storm water Regulations

Has the state definitively outlined the "need"?

What are the goals?

Have they been articulated to the citizens?

Is this part of the Clean Water Act?

Are we being killed by a thousand cuts of regulation taxes from an out of control bureaucracy created by politicians to ensure their reelection?

The last question is rhetorical.

Husband and Fat...
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Brown is correct on this one

Commission was kind enough to provide Mr. Chase with his very own copy of the report. Mr. Chase should have scheduled a private meeting with Mr. Brown to go over his concerns before sending out to others. This is just common courtesy.

Mr. Chase however does bring up some very good points. Are the items on the list in need of such dire repair as the county says? Why are we paying for items on private property?

Mr. Barlow, it is easy to criticize and complain. You did a lot of this prior to being elected. Now I guess you have to get some thicker skin and learn how to lead. Proposing a splost is not leadership. Its a politicians "crack cocaine" when they want the easy way out of real decision making.

Mr. Chase, some of us, don't have the time to drive by every location on the list, get out of the car and review for ourselves. Can you provide detail to substantiate your position?

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