Editor, I read the article (“State of roads tops SPLOST discussion,” July 29, front page) and have several questions and comments I would like Liberty County Board of Commissioners to address.
Commissioner Eddie Walden said the initial aim of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was not to pave dirt roads, but to improve the condition of roads generally, as well as improve recreation in the county and relieve property owners by using sales-tax revenue to fund it instead of property-tax money.
I certainly believe the concept of SPLOST is a more-equitable means of raising revenue to fund capital improvements that benefit everyone in the county without over burdening property owners.
I would appreciate the commissioners’ response to following:
1. Why wasn’t the Liberty County Justice Center paid for in full from SPLOST funds instead of just making a down payment, leaving property owners responsible for balance if new SPLOSTs are not approved?
2. What new capital projects are being proposed? Is the plan to pay for them in full from SPLOST revenue, or are you making a down payment that leaves property owners on the hook for the balance?
3. The proposed SPLOST funding spreadsheet indicates MidCoast Regional Airport being funded $4 million. Hinesville, Liberty County and Liberty County Industrial Authority jointly fund MidCoast Airport $1.5 million annually. How do the general county residents benefit from MidCoast Airport? Why should the community pay for an airport that benefits so few in the community?
4. Pave dirt roads? How is the county responsible for paving dirt roads? If you bought property on a dirt road, why would you have the expectation that the community will pave it for you? Certainly, other property owners do not expect the community to pave their driveways.
It seems we have lost our way and need to return to the initial aim of SPLOST. And please, commissioners, don’t spend money we don’t have.
James E. Searfoss