What would Brown have proposed if Frady hadn’t squelched him? Here’s a peek

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In the presentation he wasn’t allowed to make at Thursday’s Fayette County Commission meeting, Commissioner Steve Brown was going to recommend the county take on millions in debt for what he feels are a host of necessary projects, with the debt to be paid off from repurposed transportation SPLOST revenues.

That plan, however, assumes that the county commission would authorize a referendum allowing for voters to sign off on transportation SPLOST revenues being shifted to pay off debt or shift the money to the general fund for property tax rollbacks.

Brown’s proposal was contained in a PowerPoint presentation that he provided to commissioners at the start of the meeting.

In the document, Brown prepared a motion to have a committee formed to prepare a list of “infrastructure, maintenance and equipment needs” for a bond “paired to the amount of SPLOST funding available … allowing the taxpaying voters to decide whether to prevent future financial struggles and future unsustainable budgets.”

Brown’s document also was critical of deferred vehicle and heavy equipment purchases, as the commission previously has decided to try and get a longer life out of vehicles to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Brown also argues in the document that the county is far behind in technology, a new roof is needed for the county administration building, the county’s old jail is in need of significant repair, and a new fire station is needed in Tyrone.

Brown also argues that the county needs a new emergency operations center, other equipment for the fire department, and also wireless Internet service for sheriff’s department vehicles among other improvements.

He also wants the county to expand the parking lot at Kenwood Park.

Brown is proposing all the above projects to be funded by the transportation SPLOST, with any remaining funds — if any — to be used to offset property taxes.

In addition to a proposal that would allow a referendum to steer transportation sales tax revenues to the general fund, Brown also:

• Calls for an across the board salary reduction or furlough days for county employees to account for all new positions, pay grade adjustments and the “unbudgeted” 2010 pay for performance bonus, which was given on a one-time basis and did not increase county employees’ salaries;

• If constitutional officers such as the sheriff and clerk of court do not comply with the salary reduction or furlough days, that department would not be eligible for increased funding for further pay grade adjustments or new positions until revenues return;

Brown also contended in the PowerPoint that the previous commission deferred necessary purchases to create a “$5 million Rainy Day Fund” over the past several years.

Brown also was critical of this year’s budget being balanced by the use of more than $3 million in additional cash reserves the county has built over the past several years in budget cutting measures.

Even after the $3 million is spent on this year’s budget, the county will still have just over $5 million left in that additional cash reserve, which is over and above the county’s traditional healthy cash reserves.

Including the surplus reserve funds and also restricted reserves (the three months of working capital) and a $2 million “emergency fund” for any disaster, along with the capital improvement plan funds, the county has a total of $34.9 million available should a significant amount of funding be needed on an emergency basis in the future, county officials have said.