Fayette County has been trying to resolve how to pay for their stormwater needs. When it was confined to a county issue, Peachtree City stayed out of it. But now that the county is thinking about a SPLOST, we have been pulled in.
A county-wide SPLOST to pay for their stormwater is an attempt to circumvent using a county-only utility fee, which Peachtree City property owners do not pay. It is double taxation no matter how you try to explain it.
It is troubling Chairman Steve Brown didn’t ask the mayors to meet with him on this proposal as is the proper procedure. It is troubling to be told the SPLOST was to be spent on stormwater in the county and the cities. The county does not tell cities how to spend their share of any SPLOST. It is also troubling the county seems determined to move forward on this whether we agree or not.
Chairman Steve Brown stated the employee cost for stormwater is being transferred to the general fund. This is yet another example of double taxation because Peachtree City property owners pay into the general fund via their county property tax bills. They cannot use our tax dollars to pay for employees doing stormwater work.
When Peachtree City began dealing with our stormwater problems, did the county government or residents want to pay for Peachtree City stormwater problems? After all, we are part of Fayette.
No, they did not, it was our problem, not theirs.
The stormwater bond for Peachtree City is already in place. It does not disappear with a SPLOST. A SPLOST adds another tax and has us paying for the county stormwater, double taxation. The county gets half of the SPLOST while Peachtree City gets 31 percent when Peachtree City is the economic engine of the county. Where is the fairness Chairman Brown talked about?
Saying we could spend the money elsewhere is arguing for another Peachtree City tax increase. The current council majority sure isn’t going to cut taxes when there is another .4 millage rate and .402 general obligation bond increase in the current budget projections. So, here we go with another tax increase on top of the debt and taxes already enacted.
Councilman Dienhart put this as an agenda item for discussion on April 18th council meeting. On The Citizen blogs he says he wants to use it for cart paths, roads, etc. That means he is again on board for more taxes.
Some in the county say that Peachtree City should pay for the county stormwater since we live in Fayette County and use their roads.
First of all, roads are not paid for as part of stormwater, so we do pay for county roads via the county property tax. That means they are our roads as much as they are county residents’ roads.
Second, county residents use our city roads but are not paying for them via the county property tax. Nor do they pay for our stormwater costs. So this fairness claim needs to be seriously reexamined.
It is fascinating to me that Chairman Brown is pushing the SPLOST. On the 2009 SPLOST proposal, when Peachtree City wanted it for debt reduction, he vocally opposed the SPLOST and said everything was to be paid out of property tax. He was adamant a SPLOST cost owners more in taxes than property tax. He said it would not result in cutting property tax and just be a tax increase. That is exactly what is happening with this proposal that he is backing.
OnePeachtree City and the Needs Assessment Survey gave the citizens of Peachtree City a voice. They said very clearly no more tax increase and taxes were not being spent how they wanted. They also supported the Comprehensive Strategic Plan I have been pushing for six years now.
Get the plan in place, then adjust our spending and services to comply with the plan and fit our pocketbooks.
That has not happened and we can reduce spending using such a plan. Until that is done, no more debt and no more taxes.
Peachtree City needs a plan and a vision. We have neither and it shows. No one can look at us and say what our vision is or how we are working to get there. We are mired in doing the same old things that no longer work.
To preserve the best of the past we have to adjust to the present and plan for the future. We have to move from the 20th Century into the 21st.
There is no reason for Peachtree City to support this SPLOST proposal.
Don Haddix, mayor
Peachtree City, Ga.