Franklin County Board of Commissioners Not Please With New Matching Requirements

October 15, 2012

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners plans to send two letters to the state lawmakers demanding an end to what they say are penalties imposed on them and other local governments for voting against the T-SPLOST.

At their regular meeting in early October, Franklin County Commissioner Jeff Jacques said the Georgia Department of Transportation has instituted a new grant program called the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG), but it comes with new funding match requirements.

Jacques called the new match requirement imposed by the State an unfunded mandate and he wants state lawmakers to force the G-DOT to remove it.

“Since legislative action placed this 30% penality inside the new LMIG, I’m proposing that we contact our local legislative delegation and request that once the new legislative session has convened, that they put forth legislation that will eliminate this penalty,” Jacques said.

Commissioner Clint Harper agreed and called the G-DOT requirement quote, “shameful.”

“Not only that, I don’t even think this is constitutional,” Harper said. “When you force somebody to vote for a tax increase or penalize them, what kind of legislation is that to start with? I would hope that everybody here would contact their representatives and let them know that you’re against this.”

Commissioner Charles Cawthon said lawmakers must be made aware of the unfunded mandate that he said puts an extra financial burden on communities already struggling in the current economy.

“I think we absolutely need to take some action with our local legislators and let them know our position on this,” Cawthon said.

He also called on government bodies in surrounding counties and municipalities, as well as the public, to join Franklin County in the letter writing campaign.

The letters will go out this month to State Representative Alan Powell and State Senator Bill Wilkinson. The board hopes to discuss their responses to those letters at their next meeting in November.