County should shift bypass funds to cities

Steve Brown's picture

Why did the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendums in other counties pass, but not in Fayette? Ours was a vote of no confidence.

The ideal time to have a vote on a SPLOST referendum is in an off-year election like 2009. The rule of thumb is the people who want the benefits of the extra taxes will show at the polls and everyone else will remain home. Obviously, the proposal was so outrageous, the strategy failed. Yes, this pig was so big that no amount of lipstick would conceal it.

Letters from former Peachtree City Mayor Fred Brown, the one who touted Harold Logsdon as a financial genius, tried to convince everyone the SPLOST was above board. However, this was a case of once burned, twice learned.

The SPLOST referendum was sloppy at best. Chairman Jack Smith’s Disneyland project list was steamrolled by the voters.

Chairman Smith needs to have a moment of deep reflection, contemplating whether remaining on the board of the local developer bank is worth the potential stain of conflicts of interest.

Without a doubt, the resounding demolition of the SPLOST referendum was an exclamation directed toward the pork-barrel, $51 million West Fayetteville Bypass (Developer FREEway). Smith, Maxwell, Frady, Horgan and Hearn have a clear message from the voters: abandon the bypass.

The county and the cities need not cry “tax increase” when they have 51 million wasted dollars that could be diverted into worthwhile infrastructure projects. Saying the funds can only be used for the Developer FREEway is a lie.

So this is your moment of truth, Fayette County Board of Commissioners. The excuses are not going to cut it any longer. You have a choice. It’s the developers and homebuilders or it’s the citizens (also known as the overwhelming majority). What is your decision?

The commissioners’ fervor for a road no one wants could signify the need for pink slips come re-election time. We saw this same passion from the developer cronies with the TDK Extension, ending in a citizen revolt once the fraud was exposed.

All the regional government documentation leading to the West Fayetteville Bypass says the project does not qualify as a bona fide project and was too expensive. The road will encourage massive homebuilding and more traffic, and will not detour congestion out of Fayetteville.

Determining the will of the voters in an 8,939 to 2,852 outcome is a no-brainer, especially in an off-year election. The outrage will only get worse once the citizens find out more of the details on the bypass.

The only thing left to be determined is whether the county commissioners are listening.

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at]

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