Account for spending from last SPLOST before new one


Commissioners, Fayette County citizens are now being asked to approve an SPLOST tax for multiple years to primarily fund transportation projects.

Included in the current (February 22, 2017) edition of The Citizen an article by Ben Nelms regarding a potential request for state funding for a portion of the cost of the Veterans Parkway intersection at Ga. Highway 92 and Westbridge Road that includes a notation that the project is funded by the 2004 SPLOST.

There was also a recent comment in The Citizen (I don’t remember which specific edition) about issues regarding how the prior SPLOST was allocated.

My recollection was that a very general list of possible transportation needs was presented in advocating for passage of that tax, which did include the potential for both an east and west bypass for routing traffic around downtown Fayetteville.

As county residents who have been here for at least the last eight or 10 years are well aware, after all that tax money had been collected, the sitting board concluded the inclusion of those bypasses mandated the use of those funds to building the bypasses and that the west side bypass, to be built with SPLOST funds with no state matching funds, would be built first.

Veterans Parkway now runs from Ga. Highway 54 just below the hospital to a traffic circle on Lees Mill Road, eventually to be extended to the intersection with Hwy. 92 noted in Mr. Nelms’ previously mentioned article.

This bypass was opposed and derided by most county residents in meetings and presentations for months, but still approved by that board. As a consequence of that decision every one of the commissioners who approved that decision was defeated the next time they were on the ballot for reelection.

However, the snowball was started and money spent for land acquisition and construction contracts awarded to the point this portion had to be completed. Subsequently the newly elected board did cancel the Ga. Highway 85 (near Whitewater schools) to Hwy. 54 portion of this bypass.

The outcome of all of this is that the only real benefits of this bypass are for residents who travel Hwy. 92 to get to Westbridge, or another cut-through like Peters Road, to get to Ga. Highway 138 to access Interstate 85 can now angle from Hwy. 92 at the future intersection to Hwy. 54 near the hospital rather than continuing into town on Hwy. 92 or cutting through on Gingercake Road.

My request is for a full accounting of the 2004 SPLOST funds — how much was collected, what projects were funded and how much spent on each, and how much balance is left and the expected use of any remaining balance.

I think the taxpayers have a right to evaluate how this set of funds was managed and spent in advance of voting next month on whether or not to approve the accumulation of more “transportation” funds.

David Sexton
Fayette County, Ga.