I will be voting "NO" on the transportation bond, not because I don't believe we need to fix our roads, but after a lot of research I believe it is a stop gap measure at best and dangerous at worst. Many will disagree with me, and I respect their decisions. Here are the reasons I am voting no for anyone who may find it helpful:
1. I believe the matching fund deal is a bad deal. We pay for 85% of GA400 next year and have to trust $40M+ (half the matching funds) exists for Post Road sometime next decade. I believe it plausible the deal changes or the funds evaporate as has happened before.
2. If the BOC didn't waste our money on bad projects (Castleberry), we would have more to fund this without a bond. When someone loses my trust, I don't want to give them more money.
3. Studying our budget, we should have $5M a year to pay from the general fund for the $100M we are supposedly getting from non-SPLOST funds without a new line item on our tax bill. (BOC claims half of this can be paid back via SPLOST VIII). Event without SPLOST, we have $10M available in the general fund per year.
4. The gridlocked roads are caused by bad planning, and we are doing nothing to address the problem. We are addressing a symptom. We have chosen to yo-yo diet instead of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
5. 20 years is a long time, and I believe we will need multiple bonds if current patterns continue. Leaders tell us this is our only chance for this "deal", are they willing to tell us this is the only time we will need a road bond?
6. There will still be toll lanes on GA400 WITH this bond. That's right, we will be the ONLY County to pony up money for capacity on GA400 and when we get a 4th lane, they will still make it a toll lane. This is a bad deal for Forsyth.
7. We can add a bond to the ballot to an election in the future--after we address the root of the problem.
8. I do not trust our Commissioners to manage a project of this size.
9. These roads are possibly being built to accelerate high density development in the north, which will exacerbate the traffic problems.
10. There has not been a single town hall meeting to discuss this bond. What are they hiding? They even promised there would be town halls and have not delivered. That to me on it's own is reason enough to vote "No".
11. No public input on the bond list during the creation phase.
12. The County is approaching 1 Billion dollars in debt with this bond.
13. That brings the debt per household to around $13,000. I do not like debt.
14. Commissioners will brag during elections they have not raised our millage rate. This is smoke and mirrors. They have added line items to our tax bill in lieu of a millage rate. I will not vote for another tax increase.
15. We don't charge developers' impact fees for roads. Ask yourself: why not?
16. BOC voted 3-0 to approve town homes and 5,000 square foot lots just this month in a 700 unit zoning that did not conform to the land use map and had a 100% variance. This proves they are not willing to change course. Yes, this is a zoning issue, but this is the root of the problem.
17. I believe the BOC is dishonest and they can change the scope of the projects at anytime. The list we have all seen is not binding.
18. Commissioners and proponents will tell you this will spur commercial development. At the same time, these Commissioners are voting to zone EXISTING commercial land as high density residential along 4 lane roads. I do not trust they are interested in commercial development or have the stomach to tell developers "no" on our new "should be commercial" land.
19. I am very troubled by Chamber backed mailers which prompted the County to put a disclaimer on their website stating the "matching" funds are not guaranteed.
20. I believe this project should have included 4 lanes on GA 400, even at the expense of Ronald Reagan extension, if necessary.