Haddix gigs Brown on S-SPLOST

A proposed countywide 1 percent sales tax for two years won’t get the support of Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix.

Backed by the county commission and Chairman Steve Brown, the tax would be used by the county to replace aging culverts and drain pipes that run along and under county roads, and in turn the county would greatly reduce the annual stormwater bills to county residents over a four-year period.

Fayette’s cities will be able to choose how they wish to spend their SPLOST proceeds, and the tax would likely be on the ballot for voter consideration in November.

The SPLOST proposal will be discussed by the Peachtree City Council at its regular meeting Thursday night.

Haddix claims such the county’s proposal amounts to double-taxing city residents, who are already paying for their own stormwater repairs within the city limits. Haddix further claimed that by moving the cost of stormwater employees to the general fund, city residents were being double-taxed even further.

“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,” Haddix wrote in a letter to the editor that appears on Page A4. “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.”

Revenue estimates indicate that the two-year tax would generate $20.4 million for unincorporated Fayette, $12.9 million for Peachtree City, $5.4 million for Fayetteville, $2.3 million for Tyrone and $198,000 for Brooks.

Haddix also said he was troubled that Brown didn’t present the idea to himself and the other mayors in Fayette County.

Brown, for his part, says in a letter also on Page A4 that he has met with officials from Tyrone, Fayetteville and Peachtree City about the tax, and that the commission has pledged to reduce the stormwater fees assessed to county property owners by 90 percent over four years if the SPLOST is approved.

“This is not a 10-year ‘throw-everything-in-the-pot’ type of SPLOST proposal,” Brown wrote. “We have seen those before and voted them down. As the citizens in our town hall meetings said, have just a short two-year SPLOST, get exactly the amount of funding you need, make the repairs and move on.”

Brown said he has spoken with Peachtree City Council Members Eric Imker, George Dienhart and Kim Learnard, who are interested in using the city’s share to fund cart path and street resurfacing projects that are not currently funded in the city’s budget.

Brown did not indicate in his letter how Fayetteville might consider using its SPLOST proceeds if the tax is approved by voters.