SPLOST Passive Can't Help Fairyland Teachers -And Response

Monday, October 28, 2013

Re: Roy Exum's "How Fairyland is Punished"

Mr. Exum quotes Ms. Mercer, president of Lookout Mountian's Fairyland Elementary School PTO, urging voters to turn out and vote yes for the special SPLOST vote Nov. 5 in hopes that some of the 1 percent sales tax money could help out with badly needed supplements to teacher salaries.

Walker County voters should not be misled here....the SPLOST funds can only be used for capital improvements, and only for items previously submitted in the process prior to the vote. That is state law and not subject to change by the county.  A yes vote for SPLOST will not address Ms. Mercers stated issues. Lack of educational funding is not a reason to vote for SPLOST.

Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell has done a good job keeping our taxes steady during this current four year long recession. These are not easy times for residents in northwest Georgia. Unemployment here remains higher than the state and national average. Local government should continue to tighten its belt as its residents are doing.

While a sales tax is the least objectionable of all taxes in my opinion, unless it is accompanied by an appropriate reduction in property tax millage rate, Walker County voters should clearly vote no on the SPLOST on Nov. 5.

Brian D. Joyce

Lookout Mountain, Ga. 

* * * 

It amazes me that Mr. Joyce is informed enough to know the Lookout Mountain, Ga. budget well enough to have an opinion. I make it a point to be informed and to attend the council meeting regularly and study the finances. I have never seen Mr. Joyce at a meeting. Mrs. Mercer correctly pointed out that SPLOST funds had been used for capital improvements on the gymnasium. This money was properly approved. She never suggested any use for operations which are outside the state guidelines. 

SPLOST will provide more than $600,000 to the city over several years. It has been passed for 26 years and if not passed, the money would be lost that will have to be replaced with a tax increase if it is not passed. 

The city has vetted its capital needs and these funds will be carefully spent. As a member of the sewer board, we asked for funds for a portion of necessary upgrades.  The upgrades will have to be done and paid for whether the funds come from SPLOST or property taxes. 

The total amount of these funds cover needs that would require a 16 percent property tax increase if it is not passed. My preference is this 1 percent designated sales tax. It is not an increase, it is a continuation of 26 years of funds to help cities pay for capital funds without increasing property taxes. 

I am proudly for SPLOST and have a sign in the yard. 

Jimmy Campbell



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