We have the go-ahead from the larger municipalities to begin creating the project lists for the two-year Core Infrastructure Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) plan.
We held three well-attended townhall meetings on the county’s stormwater concerns. The first order of business for the county is replacing aging culvert infrastructure and maintaining secure accounts for future maintenance so we do not get into another debacle like the one we are in now, 40 years in the making.
We incorporated many of the suggestions we received from citizens in the townhall meetings with the short-term, two-year SPLOST being one of them.
The municipalities have areas where they are falling behind. Peachtree City, for example, is very low on funds for multi-use path maintenance and road resurfacing, so that will, most likely, be their focus.
In attempting to be straightforward and sincere on this SPLOST initiative, the collection period is reduced to only two years, garnering only the funding needed to resolve the priority core infrastructure problems. The stormwater fee for unincorporated residents would be reduced by at least 90 percent for a four-year period if the SPLOST passes.
Another noticeable feature with the this particular SPLOST is we are using the Local Option Sales Tax formula for distribution of the funds, so the municipalities would receive a greater proportional share than in past offerings.
This is a genuine effort to insure each jurisdiction makes a meaningful dent in their infrastructure restoration lists.
As our current recession recedes (hopefully continuing in that direction), the entire county needs to be in a position where we can move forward on new economic development plans quickly.
We have some unique opportunities coming our way and keeping our core infrastructure in good repair will be absolutely essential.
Our Board of Education is working to bring our school system back to financial health and we need to look at mending some of our other quality of life assets as well. Taking a countywide approach, looking to lift all jurisdictions, will make us more focused, more efficient and ready to seize opportunities as they surface.
If we fail to pull ourselves together and resolve some of our infrastructure funding problems, we will sit and watch as some remarkable opportunities pass us by.
Steve Brown, chairman
Fayette Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.