The only real drama that played out locally on election night was in the vote to approve or disapprove a $116 million SPLOST initiative to fund Fayette County road construction.
Voters narrowly approved the measure, 51 percent to 49 percent or by about 1,000 votes.
The passage means an additional penny on the dollar sales tax will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2005.
But dont expect to see widespread road construction to start anytime soon.
The SPLOST revenue will be collected by the state and redistributed to Fayette County starting next spring. The money will be used to apply for state and federal grants to fund new road construction and additions to existing roads and bridges over the next 20 years.
With all precincts counted Tuesday night, the measure passed with just 51 percent of the vote, or by 1,278 votes.
In early vote tallies Tuesday, the SPLOST was losing by an equally tight margin until, ironically, the Peachtree City precincts began coming in after 8 p.m.
Some political observers thought Peachtree City voters might doom the SPLOST. Thats because in recent months, Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown had campaigned nearly non-stop against the 70/30 revenue distribution plan for the SPLOST.
Under the agreement, Peachtree City will get about $11 million from the SPLOST, Brown said.
But Browns efforts apparently didnt sway enough of his constituents to turn the 1-cent sales tax down. It passed in 11 of 13 Peachtree City precincts.
During Wednesdays County Commission meeting, the commissioners were downright happy with Tuesdays results.
I wish it would have passed by a bigger margin, but this is really going to help our transportation needs, said Commissioner Herb Frady.
Chairman Greg Dunn was also pleased with the results and said residents will see how helpful the extra penny is when the county already has its money in place to match funds from the federal government.
The commission also dismissed any notions of getting any type of bridge loan until the funds start rolling in next May. The tax starts Jan. 1.
One of the hardest things you can do is to get people to vote a tax on themselves. But the residents knew how important our transportation plan is, Dunn said.
Last week, Brown dismissed any notion that passage of the SPLOST was a statement on his political influence.
Instead, he said the narrow vote tallies just 2 percent shows that Fayette Countians are concerned about fair tax equity distribution.
The very fact that the school bonds won by an overwhelming margin of over 18,000 votes and the SPLOST won by a mere 1,200 votes is a clear indication that the voting public is uncomfortable with the leadership of the Fayette County Commission and that district representation and tax equity are going to be strong issues in the future, said Brown.
Brown has joined State Rep. Virgil Fludd in calling for district voting in Fayette County as a way to ensure equal representation and taxation for all areas within the county.
Brown expressed disappointment that all of the citys former living mayors signed onto an ad last week urging passage of the SPLOST.
I was shocked they would take a position opposite the position of their own city, Brown said. While all of the other city councils in the county passed resolutions of support in some fashion for the SPLOST, Peachtree City, on the advice of its attorney, did not.
None of the former mayors consulted with the present city administration about why the city was taking the position it did, Brown said.
Even though the SPLOST argument is finally settled, Brown refused to declare a truce with the county or Commission Chairman Greg Dunn.
Weve always been willing to work with the county on any projects, especially roads, said Brown of the city. Our problem has always been, and will continue to be, tax equity.