Resident questions county commission’s joint water tower project with Trilith

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Good evening, Commissioners: I am George vonWalthausen, and live at Flat Creek Court. For 28 years I’ve been a faithful voting and taxpaying supporter of this community. Also means I share your unlimited sense of humor.

Who doesn’t like “free“ money? For that matter, who doesn’t enjoy spending other people’s money? Anyone remember that TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal“? Well, what’s coming through door number 4 at the rear of this meeting room is your brand new 2022 Trojan Horse.

Yes, commissioners, generously donated by Trilith Development LLC, this $1.25 million baby has all the bells and whistles, including fine Corinthian leather upholstery.

Now I hate to leave the horse standing in the middle of the room, but suddenly we have a problem with the water supply at the hospital? An honest source at the hospital is unaware of any water pressure issues to date. What do they know that we don’t?

So, is this agenda statement a plausible but cute little fiction to support construction of a water tower? Perhaps similar to the assertion of the Fayette County Development Authority claiming over 100 new jobs with average salaries over $100,000 for the data center?

But just for argument’s sake, let’s say the hospital does have water issues. Now that this is public record, how many of you want to be 5th floor guests when the taps go dry during the many months that elapse bringing this tower savior on-line?

How about letting Trilith repossess its horse, build their own iconic water tower, and county lease the services from it? Meantime, address and fix the hospital water problem. And maybe have Trilith agree to split the cost of maintaining the structure, pump station, etc.

On-going maintenance and repair costs are not enumerated in the memorandum, maybe because the county is to be responsible for “all pumps necessary for the Tower to be fully functional.“ And, Trilith and the county agree that all activity occurring within the property shall be the responsibility of the county. Time to add a new budget line item.

Nice stuff. For Trilith. Their village. And their shiny new data center. Not so sure about the hospital.

I’m relieved that [Fayette] County is not yet floating a bond issue for this project. My property taxes are high enough already. Like a 57% assessment increase this year. At the same time, sounds like county coffers are overflowing if they can out-of-pocket pony up the bucks for this project.

Anyone concerned about construction cost over-runs due to labor and materials shortages? How about inflation and higher interest rates? Trilith and the county believe the project shall cost no more than $2.5 million. The parties don’t promise, they don’t commit, they simply believe.

And I believe that in my seventh decade I can throw a 90-MPH fastball.

Sweet partnership, where Trilith caps their contribution at $1.25 million, and the county picks up the rest. Why can’t county cap their entire initial outlay for this tower project? What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, no?

To borrow a buzzword, Trilith has exponentially more resources than the county. And here they are throwing us a bone. Y’all going to bite?

See you later, horsey.

Thanks for your time and kind consideration.

George vonWalthausen

Fayetteville, Ga.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Doug, Appreciate your analysis and concern. The water tower WILL serve the interests of the soon to be constructed data center owing to yesterday’s annex of the property. In my eyes, the tower will serve private interests first, public interests second, with the County essentially owning it and picking up all the costs past the Trilith “donation”. Not a City of Fayetteville issue, because the County owns/supplies all the water. Trilith will do whatever it takes to support its studios….which means more computing power, hence the data center, hence a reliable shot of water pressure for the data center. Just my 2.5 cents.
    George

  2. Mr. vonWalthausen. The water tower may, or may not, be a good deal for the County. I personally question any business arrangement when a commercial enterprise makes a capital investment proposal to a government entity, especially when the investment does not equally help everyone in the government’s jurisdiction. To me, Trilith falls within the Fayetteville jurisdiction. If so, isn’t the water tower a Fayetteville issue and not a County issue? I’m not a Fayetteville citizen, but I do share interests with Fayette County.