Vote 'no' on new SPLOST

The next proposed special-purpose local option sales tax is being handled in a manner that demonstrates a lack of respect for taxpaying citizens. It’s evident there’s a lack of trust among decision-makers, and clear that some don’t care about fairness – just their own special interests.

All districts deserve a fair share of SPLOST funding. Augusta commissioners not in attendance for the recent SPLOST vote should not be tarred and feathered. The meeting was hastily called by Mayor Deke Copenhaver. The commissioners present should have assured that all districts received ample inclusion in SPLOST. After all, the tax will apply to all citizens in every district. In addition, citizens were not given a sufficient opportunity to have input. There used to be a citizens’ SPLOST advisory committee. This advisory committee needs to be restored.

Starting the Municipal Building renovations – and counting on SPLOST revenue to pay for it before allowing citizens the right to vote on SPLOST – was unethical. Most egregious was our mayor hastily putting a package together assuring that his mill project was included. Every commissioner who voted for this mill project did a disservice to the community. We are short on revenue. Our infrastructure needs are too great (magnified by the recent ice storm) for this “vision.” If the mayor has so much confidence in the potential of the mills, why not demonstrate that confidence with an investment of his own money? Or put together a private investment group?

Every citizen should join me in voting “no” on this SPLOST. Our heads are not buried in the sand. Infrastructure is a priority. Continued disrespect and taking our citizens’ votes for granted will never be acceptable.

On March 4, Grady Smith said on TV that the May 20 elections will allow citizens to “get a new set of horses.” We can get a new team of horses, and we should.

Juanita L. Burney

Augusta

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