City Council has been working diligently to make parks and transportation improvements in our great City. Recently, Council developed a proposed parks bond project list totaling $35 million and a proposed TSPLOST II transportation project list totaling $68 million. The combined lists total $103 million, and the City has bonding capacity of approximately $30 million without raising taxes. Issues have arisen about how and when to proceed.
TSPLOST II is scheduled to be on the November 2021 ballot. All of Fulton County, except for Atlanta, will vote on TSPLOST II and decide whether to continue a .75-cent sales tax for transportation projects. In 2016, TSPLOST I passed by a 52%-48% margin.
Under one scenario, Council is considering whether to pass a $30 million parks bond initiative now so that it will be placed on the November 2021 ballot. If TSPLOST II passes in November, it will be the funding source for the transportation project list. If Fulton County does not pass TSPLOST II and Alpharetta approves the parks bond, the City would not have sufficient bonding capacity for transportation projects unless Council votes to raise taxes.
Under another scenario, Council could wait until after November to pass a bond initiative for a May 2022 vote. If TSPLOST II passes in November, it will be the funding source for the transportation projects and we could proceed with a parks bond in May 2022. If TSPLOST II does not pass, Council will have the latitude to consider a $30 million bond comprised of the top priorities from the combined parks and transportation project lists. In the alternative, Council could decide whether to raise taxes allowing for a combined parks and transportation bond in an amount greater than $30 million.
I see no downside to waiting five months, from November 2021 to May 2022, before bringing forward a bond initiative when we will know our bonding capacity and can present the best possible bond projects list to the voters. Do we make our decision now hoping TSPLOST II will pass, or after November when we know which projects are unfunded?
I respectfully submit for matters such as these, hope is not a strategy. Your voice matters. I welcome your comments including at the next City Council meeting on June 7.
— John Hipes, Alpharetta City Council, Post 4, firstname.lastname@example.org