Though the Fayette County Board of Commissioners were seeking questions from the public about the proposed Core Infrastructure Special Local Option Sales Tax at their Thursday night meeting, they may have gotten more than they expected.
Earlier in the year, the Board of Commissioners held three town hall meetings and issued a Core Infrastructure SPLOST email address, email@example.com, for citizens to ask questions or make comments. All of the email queries from citizens were answered with copies given to the local newspapers.
One resident offered some 30 plus questions to be read into the record the night of the meeting and environmentalist Dennis Chase, who has not been a proponent of the SPLOST since its inception, blasted the commission for failing to answer the questions he has posed to them time and again.
Chase said that he has been expressing his concern about stormwater issues in the county since December of 2012.
“I’ve posed somewhere between 50 and 60 messages on a number of points, including questions I had. At several of the Tea Party meetings, I have had face to face conversations about these same questions and issues. I presented comments, questions and concerns at this podium up through the summer time, leading up to the late August public hearing, all of which are already on the public record.
“I made an additional presentation related to a small watershed just north of Lake Horton. That presentation included questions and concerns where I tried to show the significance of taking on issues to watershed analysis. I also suggested a set of projects from your list that could be done as an alternative to completing the entire list. This would have given you time to get the remaining study of the stormwater drainage problem.”
According to Chase, the only time he did receive an answer to his question was when he called interim county attorney Dennis Davenport to ask what the county’s legal responsibility was for repair of the three dams in the county that required work.
“I received a clear and concise answer.”
Chase said that, as a scientist, he could deal with what he can see and review and draw then draw conclusions.
“No answers equals no support from me. We are 26 days away from voting on this so there is no useful purpose for me presenting the same questions to you again. I’ve put in several hundred hours to try to give you useful observations and suggestions. I plan to continue objecting as I have in the past. My intent is to provide the public with what I learned, what I didn’t learn and what I recommend. More editorials, more emails and more presentations to groups if they ask me to speak.
“A vote for this would be a mistake.”
Brown said that some of the questions Chase had already posed to the commission were answered not only on the website but also in the media.
“We’re doing what no other elected body in this county has done. We will take your questions, record it in the official record, we will answer it in the official record and in the news media. We’re going into this with our eyes wide open and we’re answering your questions. It might not be the answer you want to hear, but we will give you a genuine answer to each question.”
County administrator Steve Rapson said the commission would be compiling the answers to the questions and would be posting both to the county website, as well as providing the answers to the press in time for next week’s deadlines.