I am against SPLOST and I am for SPLOST. I know—that doesn’t make sense. I attended the SPLOST meeting in Midway and watched the nice presentation on how SPLOST funds will be used. They just forgot one thing in the presentation—the debt service, which is $12,525,000.
The debt service is left over from the Justice Center and the Midcoast Airport runway. The Justice Center was built because the judges and the grand jury told County Administrator, Joey Brown, that they were building a new court house. Brown told them about SPLOST. So, that’s how us taxpayers got stuck with this expensive monument to Justice. Brown should have let the judges build it. This expensive project only serves a small portion of the residents of Liberty County. The people working there are the prime beneficiaries. Since they wanted this building so badly, let them figure a way to pay for the debt service, not us taxpayers.
The prime beneficiary of the runway extension is Fort Stewart. DOD has more money than Liberty County taxpayers. Let the military pay the debt service. The residents will not benefit as the runway will not generate income for Liberty County residents.
Then, there are essential services, such as the jail, police, 911, fire and EMT. We do need the money to keep these services available to the public. We do need road work and drainage projects, along with recreation facilities and an east end immediate care facility. All of these projects benefit the most people. I don’t think that we need to spend $2,160,000 for program management. The county board of commissioners are already paid, let them manage the programs.
I also agree that the individual cities need money for their local projects; yet only 6.8 percent of the $54,000,000 will go to the cities.
So, in my opinion, we should continue to reject SPLOST unless the county pulls the debt service from SPLOST. Let the special interest groups pay the debt service on their own projects. Removing the debt service from SPLOST would open up $12,525,000 to be divided among the cities to benefit their neighborhoods.
We need to send a message to the county commissioners that they just can’t use our money for pet projects that only benefit a few. SPLOST money should benefit the most people.