Citizens, come have your say on taxes

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Last July, approximately 55 percent of those who voted in the county commissioner election voted for Steve Brown and Allen McCarty. The platform of Brown and McCarty was for change: anti-West Bypass, anti-SPLOST, and anti-mass transit. Your newly elected commissioners have been diligently working toward those ends. But they are outnumbered 3 to 2. They need your help.

Commission Chairman Herb Frady, commissioners Lee Hearn and Robert Horgan have been unyielding in their support of the West Bypass, one of the two largest SPLOST projects in Fayette County. They have created a political blockade against the new commissioners and those of you who don’t support the West Bypass.

Commissioner Hearn has stated that he is tired of public comments against the project, and will not change his mind. Neither he nor Commissioner Horgan has opposed Chairman Frady’s “no” voting on any issues introduced by the new commissioners.

On Thursday, June 23, Commissioner Brown will present an opportunity to stop designated certain SPLOST projects. Under House Bill 240, the commissioners can let the voters decide if they believe specific SPLOST projects are now impractical.

Under HB240, if the voters go against the SPLOST projects, the money committed to those projects can reduce county debt and their property taxes.

This same night the commissioners will be holding their second and final public hearing on the 2011/ 2012 budget. The question is will Chairman Frady allow Fayette taxpayers to decide how our money will be spent? In order for the referendum to happen, at least three commissioners must vote to allow a SPLOST referendum on specific projects.

In 2004, we were tricked into voting for the bypass projects that were not individually identified on the SPLOST ballot. Since that time, there has been growing SPLOST opposition, especially to the West Bypass. Your support is needed to once and for all get a message across to Chairman Frady.

The people of Fayette County don’t want to spend $70 million for bypass projects when many are in dire economic straits and can’t pay their taxes. County revenues have been declining over the past few years and indications are that they will continue to do so. Residential single family home building permits are at a standstill.

The county has not adequately provided for all its functions, yet declared unspent money “surplus.” It needs more funding to fulfill all its obligations to the people. Now is not the time to be spending colossal funds on projects that are not justified by need.

What is it that bonds our three senior commissioners to the West Bypass?

That’s what the people of Fayette County need to ask until they get a satisfactory answer.

If you believe Fayette voters should have say in how your tax money is spent, then you owe it to yourselves and all other taxpayers to voice your opposition to the continued wasting of your SPLOST tax dollars.

Better yet, DO something. Come to the 7 p.m. meeting and voice your opposition. This will be the final budget hearing.

If you support reducing property taxes, and if you support Commissioner Brown and Commissioner McCarty in their efforts to stop the SPLOST waste, then you need to attend the commissioners meeting to be held 7 p.m. Thursday in the Commissioners Meeting Room, 140 Stonewall Ave. West, Fayetteville. You can also call the commissioners at 770-305-5200, or fax them at 770-305-5210.

Last meeting, Chairman Frady would not allow Commissioner Brown to speak. However, he did permit the media to review the material and prepare articles. By Thursday, he will have had two weeks and at least two opportunities to prepare rebuttal to Brown’s presentation. To get what you voted for, your help is needed to help lift the 3 to 2 voting blockade. You’ll find it will be worth your while.

Do you want another 3 to 2 vote?

Steve Smithfield

Fayetteville, Ga.