children over asphalt

To the editor:

Citizens are demanding that the Clayton County Commission uphold its promise and pay its debt. When the Special Purpose Local Option Tax (SPLOST) committee championed the 2003 SPLOST, it promised six recreation centers and road projects in return for a one-cent increase in the County's sales tax - even if SPLOST collections fell short. With this promise, citizens voluntarily taxed themselves and voted for the SPLOST overwhelmingly. In that moment, the County signed a promissory note. This note was a promise to build six centers so that children would have a safe place to play and an alternative to gang violence as well as other destructive behavior. Currently, the County is attempting to present a scenario that prioritizes asphalt over our children.

To date, the County has largely used revenue generated by the SPLOST to fund its road projects. Recently, there have been grumblings that there isn't enough revenue to complete the six recreation centers that initially were promised along with the road projects. Now, instead of issuing bonds to construct the centers in the same manner that it constructed the senior center, the judicial complex, the natatorium, the police headquarters/911 center, and many other capital structures, the County has presented an antiquated financial model that is not viable, presents a structural deficit, and is likely to implode before the six centers are ever constructed.

When purchasing a home in today's modern economy, no one giving sound advice would suggest that it is financially prudent to identify the house you'd like at your desired price, and wait until you save $200,000 to buy it - particularly when you have no place to live, are being offered a no interest loan, and have guaranteed the income to repay the debt service. This type of financial advice would be soundly rejected. It overlooks the fact that you have no place to live and doesn't take into consideration that while waiting to accumulate $200,000, the cost of the house is rising. Moreover, while you may eventually save the $200,000 needed to make the purchase, with the unexpected complications of life, it is very likely that those dollars will be spent on other things.

For the very same reasons, it does not make sense to wait until the County collects the money for the six recreation centers to build them. Our County's children don't have adequate places to play, the cost of construction is rising, and ultimately, while trying to save the money to build the six recreation centers, it's very likely that the County will spend the money on other things. The Chairman's news release following Delta's request to be exempted from the County's fuel sales tax crystallized the fears of many Clayton County voters that the County was prepared to spend the revenue generated by the SPLOST on other things and wasn't committed to maintaining its promise to build the six recreation centers.

To ensure the County honors its commitment to the six recreation centers, it must borrow the money necessary to construct them. In this way, we put our money where our heart is, we create safe places for our children to play, we dedicate SPLOST revenue to the promised six centers, and we cap the cost of construction. If the County refuses to do that, it should admit that it is bankrupting public trust, and issuing a bad check that will ultimately come back marked "insufficient funds."

Wole Ralph


Slow those

cars down

To the editor:

To determine how fast one should drive through a school zone, take this simple test: How fast would you drive if it was your mother standing in the middle of the road? For those of you speeding through the Swint Elementary School zone, it is MY mother out there. I'm sure all of Norma Gant's five children, three daughter-in-laws, ten grandchildren and her husband of thirty-nine yearsé would appreciate your respect for her life and safety. Nowhere you are going is more important than her life or the lives of the children she escorts across the street. Slow down, people!

Heather Sauls

Clayton County