AFP GA Wall of Shame: Chatham County SPLOST VOTE

October 29, 2013

AFP Georgia activists oppose the November 5th SPLOST in Chatham County. Below are excerpts from our good friend John Perry’s Facebook page, “Reclaim Savannah”, and several of his public posts on the upcoming SPLOST. For more please visit the Reclaim Savannah Facebook page here.

POST – Passing SPLOST won’t stop property tax hikes – By Frank Bomberger (Savannah Resident)

I just received the flyer from Citizens for Progress regarding the upcoming SPLOST vote. It pictures two senior citizens and reads, “ We hate having our fixed income chipped away by rising property taxes, SPLOST is the solution.”

How quick everyone forgets.

If we remember, the most recent ESPLOST was sold and passed as an alternative to a property tax increase. Once the ESPLOST funding was secured, the Savannah-Chatham school board raised property taxes by 8.5 percent. Everybody got raises. Dr. Thomas Lockamy got a nice jump in compensation and they have funds to take retreats to the Jekyll Island Club.

While the current SPLOST has not even expired, Chatham County raised the general milliage rate by 7.8 percent and the millage rate for the special Services District was raised by 8.5 percent. This is equivalent to Pooler city rate, with none of the associated services, and the transit tax by 17.1 percent.

Based on recent history, SPLOST does not guarantee that property taxes will not rise. To keep rising taxes from chipping away at a fixed income, our county officials need to begin chipping away at expenses with zero balance budgeting, a serious review of the county structure and operations, unused fixed assets and property, the agreement with the city of Savannah for funding the police department and the cost of detaining city inmates at the county jail.

I’m also a senior citizen with the same concerns as the couple on the flyer, but SPLOST is not the answer.

Chatham County Broke Promises with SPLOST – By Gene Brooks (Savannah Resident)

The reason that I am not voting for SPLOST this time around is that there are no controls over how the collected money will be spent. There are only promises.

The money goes into a general fund and is spent depending on how those in control at the time it’s accessible want to spend it.

The best example of this is the Chatham County Courthouse. There was once a placard in front of our courthouse announcing to the community that renovations would be completed by 2008. The money had been raised by a SPLOST vote that had promised courthouse renovations.

Architects drew plans for a new courthouse that could serve our growing community. A few years ago, the placard was removed. Then renovation plans were scratched. The money was gone.

The millions of dollars originally allotted to the courthouse had been spent on a new county administrative building that houses several hundred county employees, rather than on the courthouse that serves thousands of citizens on a weekly basis. This has left Chatham County with the most dilapidated courthouse in the region.

SPLOST & the Negative Impact on DeRenne Business Owners – By Chris Blaine (Savannah)

The SPLOST is a hoax in that the citizens were not consulted on which projects to include. In the past, projects have been deleted and added. Like in a game of chance, you never knew where the bucks would land.

The Savannah Chamber of Commerce will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote projects which, by design, will penalize the very merchants it should defend.

A top consideration should be an economic impact study for the DeRenne Project. Do the math: Total the economic value of jobs and businesses to be lost and add in the true cost of completing all the splintered phases of the project. Balance the result against the economic value of less than two minutes in decreased driver travel time into our city. What do we get besides residential bicycle and pedestrian lanes and a few more bushes?

Don’t forget the project and many more project phases to follow will be constructed by out-of-town firms with only a pinch of local minority labor.

Our local governments seem to be the only ones flush with bags of cash to invest in building monuments. We still don’t see anything of substance from the much-touted Trade Center and race track on Hutchinson Island. Do officials think the taxpayers are cash cows?

We are tired of being milked. We should vote SPLOST down. SPLOST should be for building modest infrastructure. Bill us a little at a time by selling bonds, like our mortgage payments.

Focus on schools and crime.

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