Why I am voting against the SPLOST
Over the past few weeks, I have seen several articles, and heard many speakers covering the SPLOST that is on the July 18th ballot. There has been mass misinformation leaving the public confused and unclear about what is really going on. I intend to vote NO for the following reasons.
My primary reason for voting NO is the $87 million allocated to the building of a new jail. While Sheriff Miller and the Board of Commissioners tout the need for a new jail, overcrowding, and grand jury statements; the fact of the matter is there are NO independent studies that have assessed the situation. Are there safe cost effective alternatives available that are underutilized by our current administration? Are the courts the bottleneck that causes our supposed jail overcrowding? What are the demographics and statistics on our jail population? Without thorough and independent studies, the people of Douglas County have no true facts to base their opinion. We may very well need a new jail; however, we need a fair study to prove it.
Secondly, while the Sheriff is asking for $87 million, the actual construction costs can exceed this estimate. Currently, the location of the jail is in question. There are no estimates for the increased operational costs once the jail is built. Using SPLOST funding, allows unbridled spending, without oversight to protect the peoples money that comes with general fund projects. Without proper oversight, you can be assured that questionable expenditures will abound; especially when given an $87 million blank check without a comprehensive plan.
SPLOST funds have become the drug of choice for county officials. By continuously depleting every dime the general funds have available, county officials are now dependent upon SPLOST money and threaten to raise property taxes to feed their never ending hunger for more spending. The mere thought of losing out on a few weeks worth of 1% sales tax revenues, has prompted the aggressive push by county officials to pass this SPLOST extension as soon as possible. This irresponsible SPLOST proposal has been rushed to the ballot without public input, detailed plans, or clue as to the location of the jail. The current SPLOST doesn’t expire till next summer. If you vote NO, the county will have to wait till next summer to propose the SPLOST again, and will miss out on 2 weeks worth of pennies.
By voting NO, I am sending a clear message to the ‘leadership’ of Douglas County to stop trying to mislead the public with vague, biased, and blatantly incorrect statements. If we are successful, and this SPLOST fails, be rest assured county officials will return next summer with a more detailed comprehensive plan. After all, an addict will always come back for their fix.