Friday, Sept. 10, 2004
Brown, VanLandingham trade SPLOST barbs
PTC forum on road referendum is Tuesday
Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown has fired back at Fayette County Commissioner A.G. VanLandingham in the latest round of squabbling over distribution of tax revenue between the county and cities.
In a letter to the editor that ran in Wednesdays Citizen, VanLandingham criticized Brown for his opposition to Novembers SPLOST referendum to fund county road projects, as well as Browns argument that the countys master recreation plan doesnt include Peachtree City.
If Mayor Brown is successful in his efforts to convince enough voters to oppose the SPLOST, we will be leaving tens of millions of dollars in state and federal road money on the table, VanLandingham wrote.
In a formal response submitted Wednesday, Brown called VanLandingham the latest person trying to derail Peachtree Citys call for an equitable distribution of local taxes.
Brown added, Personally, I am glad that he is initiating this discussion and we will let the voters decide for themselves.
When asked this week why he had submitted the letter, VanLandingham was very clear with his motives.
Im just tired of all the negative comments coming from the mayor. I just dont know what has happened, he said.
The SPLOST question will appear on Novembers General Election ballot. If voters approve the additional penny sales tax countywide, it would raise about $121 million over five years dedicated for road improvements throughout Fayette County.
Seventy percent of the funds would serve as start-up and seed money to fund the countywide Transportation Plan, which includes projects like a bypass around Fayetteville and other improvements. The local funding share would be combined with state and federal grants to complete the projects.
Without the penny sales tax increase, VanLandingham and other commissioners have said, Fayette County doesnt stand a chance of winning any grant money.
The remaining 30 percent of the sales tax revenue would be divided for local projects identified by the cities and the unincorporated county. Brown insists Peachtree Citys share should be more.
Brown also accuses the County Commission of intentionally avoiding the guidelines laid out in House Bill 709, approved by the Legislature this year, that requires the tax money to be split by intergovernmental agreement or according to population.
The commission OKd the terms of the SPLOST referendum in June; the bill became law on July 1.
Brown wrote, After I repeatedly called for the commissioners to follow the new state SPLOST faireness law, Chairman (Greg) Dunn confirmed their wanting to exclude Peachtree City by saying, We didnt want Steve Brown in control of this.
VanLandingham knew that his letter would be met with a sharp response, but hopes residenst will be able to see through all the rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce will hold its second forum on the SPLOST referendum issue at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Peachtree City First Presbyterian Church on Willowbend Road.
The speaker will be Ed Ellis, vice president of URS Corporation which developed the county Transportation Plan.
Virginia Gibbs, Chamber president, said our number one mission is to get to the fact.
The Peachtree City Council meeting previously scheduled for the same night has been pushed back to a start time of 8:30 so that Brown and other city officials can attend.
Copyright 2004-Fayette Publishing, Inc.