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'Say Yes to Investing in Roswell Through the Bond'

Roswell Mayor Jere Wood explains why he believes the upcoming bond referendum is vital to the city.

After casting your ballot for President on Nov. 6, please vote to approve Roswell’s request to borrow $14.7 million.

This loan will fund $6 million to reduce traffic congestion by improving the intersection of SR 400 and Holcomb Bridge Road, $2.7 million to build multi-purpose sidewalks on Holcomb Bridge Road and Eves Road so our children can walk to school and to the river, $2 million for turf fields for our children to play football, soccer and lacrosse, $2.5 million for a therapeutic pool for our seniors, and $1.5 million to replace the old fire station on Holcomb Bridge Road.

This is the second time in the 15 years I have served as Mayor that I have asked the citizens of Roswell for approval to borrow money to invest in their hometown. The first was in 2000, when the voters approved a $32 million bond. Of that, $30 million funded the purchase of 400 acres of parkland and $2 million was used to build a new Fire Station on Holcomb Bridge Road. That debt will be paid off in 2014 which allows the city to borrow $14.7 million without raising taxes.

Roswell is your city. The money borrowed will be invested to make your hometown a better place to live. This investment will reduce traffic congestion, give our children more places to play, provide care and comfort to our seniors, and improve public safety and emergency response.

Vote yes on Nov. 6 to investing in Roswell.

Jere Wood

Roswell Mayor

Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Vote “NO" on the Roswell City Bond! 1. The Project List is Not Binding It may surprise voters to learn that the proposed project list, as advertised by Roswell City Government is not binding. This is a general obligation bond and as such, if the bond is approved then Roswell city government will have the authority to spend the money on any project of their choosing. Furthermore, there is no legal requirement for Roswell city government to spend the money on the advertised project list. On Sunday, during a town hall meeting, a representative of the Roswell city government admitted that the project list was not binding and went on to explain that the Roswell City Government does not want to be "ham strung" by the advertised project list. I was very surprised and concerned to hear this statement.
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM
2. The Project list is Filled with Wants and Not Needs According to a statement made by one city council member, the project "list appears to be filled with wants and not needs." If this project list is filled with wants, then why does Roswell city government need us to borrow money to pay for it?
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM
3. Why Spend City money on State Projects? The anchor project of this bond is a $6 million dollar upgrade to the Holcomb Bridge/GA 400 interchange. However, Holcomb Bridge Rd and GA 400 are both state roads and as such, it is the responsibility of the state of GA and the Georgia Department of Transportation to pay for the maintenance and upgrade of these roads. So why, are we, the tax payers of Roswell being asked to use city tax dollars to pay for state projects? Furthermore, in a recent statement made by Councilman Dippolito, the GA 400/Holcomb Bridge interchange has not even been approved by GDOT. So if GDOT has not approved the project, then why are the tax payers of Roswell being asked to borrow $6 million dollars so the city can pay for a state project that hasn't even been approved?
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM
4. Without this Bond, Property Taxes Can be Lowered by 25.5 % This may be the biggest skeleton in the closet for the bond issue and one that Roswell City Government has carefully avoided. You see, Roswell city government has repeatedly stated that "property tax rates will not be increased because of the proposed bonds." But according to Roswell for Fiscal Responsibility, that is simply not the whole story. According to the research conducted by RFFR, if this bond is defeated, then property taxes can actually be reduced by 25.5 %. How? Now a 25.5 % reduction in property taxes is a pretty big number, so let's talk about how they came up with that number. Under the existing property tax rate, for every $1 dollar that we pay in property taxes, Roswell city government uses $0.25 cents (25.5 %) of that dollar to make payments on existing debt. For simplicity sake, I will refer to this 25.5 % as the "debt tax." And legally, that's exactly what it is. The debt tax is that portion of our property tax that is used to make payments on existing debt and legally cannot be used for any other purpose. That's right; the city of Roswell has existing debt. Now here's the good news; in 2014, the existing debt is scheduled to be repaid, at which point, the citizens of Roswell and our city will be debt free! So what happens to the 25.5 % debt tax in 2014? Well, that all depends on the outcome of the Bond Vote on Nov. 6.
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:13 PM
How will Property Taxes be Affected if the Proposed Bond is Approved?: You see; if the proposed bond is approved, then the debt tax will be continued and Roswell city government will simply use the 25.5 % debt tax to make payments on the new bond (the new debt). How will Property Taxes be Affected if the Proposed Bond is Defeated?: This is such an important point, so please don't miss it! According to Roswell for Fiscal Responsibility, if the proposed bond is defeated on Nov. 6 and the existing debt is repaid in 2014, then by law, the debt tax must be eliminated and the money can be returned to the tax payers in the form of a 25.5 % property tax reduction. It appears that Roswell city government knows this and I am disappointed and frankly disturbed that they have not been more forthcoming to the public with this information.
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM
5. The Bond Does Not Pay for Long-Term Operating Expenses Long-Term Operating Expenses must be paid for by taxes and fees. Now, I am especially concerned by this fact because of the high operational and maintenance costs that the city is projecting for the new Therapeutic Pool that Roswell City Government wants to build for the Adult Recreation Center. In fact, the city estimates that the operational and maintenance costs could be as high as $230,000 per year. Wow! Now Roswell city government claims that the pool will break even; although I'm not sure how. At $230,000 per year for expenses, and an entry fee of $5 per person per trip, the city will need 46,000 people per year / 52 Weeks = 884 people per week / 7 days = 126 people per day everyday of the year to make this work. This Therapeutic Pool is starting to look more like a MARTA train with a never ending trail of costs behind it. And like MARTA, if Roswell city government can't break even on this "investment," then I guess they will either have to raise fees or subsidize the pool from our property taxes.
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM
6. Projects can be Paid for Without the Need to Borrow Money or Go Into Debt Roswell city government wants to borrow $14.7 MILLION dollars to pay for the proposed project list. But there are other sources of funding available to the city that do not require the need to borrow money or go into debt. For example, the city of Roswell currently has $25.3 million dollars in cash above the required reserves. So, if the city currently has $25.3 MILLION dollars in cash above the required reserves, why then do we need to borrow $14.7 million dollars to pay for the proposed projects? On Tuesday, in an interview with Channel 2 Action News, Mayor Wood explained that Roswell City Government can’t use the $25.3 MILLION in cash above reserves because Roswell City Government already has plans to spend that money too! Alternatively, the city could use the "pay-as-you-go" plan. Under this plan, if property tax rates are kept at the same levels, as Roswell city government claims they should be, then the city will collect $6.3 million dollars annually above the required reserves once the existing debt is repaid. $6.3 million dollars is plenty of cash to quickly pay for all of the proposed projects on the list and more! And if you use some of the $25.3 million of cash on hand and combine that with the $6.3 million collected after the debt is paid off, then the city can start the projects on time, as scheduled and complete them without incurring any additional debt!
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM
7. Roswell City Government has a history of Over Taxing, Over Spending - and now they want to continue spending by borrowing more money According to research conducted by RFFR, during the early part of the 2000's the city of Roswell had a rather high property tax rate. In fact, so high, that by 2007, the city had amassed an astounding $55 million in cash above the required reserves. In 2008, when times got tough and most families in Roswell reduced spending, Roswell city government kept spending. In fact, during each of the last 5 years, Roswell city government has spent more money than it has collected in tax revenue and in the process, consumed $31.5 million dollars of our reserves. And according to Mayor Wood, they already have plans to spend the remaining $25.3 MILLION of our reserves! This means that the Mayor and Roswell City Government has spent almost $55 MILLION dollars of our reserves in just 5 short years!
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Now Roswell city government will be quick to tell you that they are a fiscally conservative government and the city operates under a "balanced budget." Well I'm sorry, but draining your savings account to balance the budget is not a fiscally conservative policy. And now, rather than reduce spending and lower taxes by 25.5 % during a hurting economy, Roswell city government wants to continue spending and they want to take out a mortgage on the citizens of Roswell to pay for it. On Nov. 6, the tax payers of Roswell will have the opportunity to Vote No on the Roswell City Bond. Tell Roswell city government that it is time to start living within their means, just like families in Roswell do, every day.
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM
8. Mayor Wood Blames the Citizens of Roswell for their Failure of TSPLOST On Tuesday, in an interview with Channel 2 Action News, Mayor Wood: - Blamed the citizens for traffic problems and the failure to pass TSPLOST. Mayor Wood: "We are sitting in traffic because the citizens chose NOT to pass the TSPLOST" - Claimed the city can’t pay cash for projects because Roswell City Government already has plans to blow through the remaining $25.3 MILLION of our reserves! - Blatantly denied the bond contains a hidden tax increase You can watch the full interview here: http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/controversial-project-could-cut-roswell-commutes/vgNtQ/ Mayor Wood says that because the voters stood up to the bloated and overreaching State government, and said “No Thank You” to the TSPLOST Boondoggle, it is now your fault! And this should come as no surprise since Mayor Wood was a vocal public supporter of TSPLOST. And now we know why. Now it’s clear that Roswell City Government was gambling on TSPLOST passing to “fill the pot-holes” in the Roswell City budget. Well, my friends; YOU, the VOTERS of Roswell defeated TSPLOST, and YOU, the VOTERS of Roswell will defeat this boondoggle of a bond too!
Jake Lilley October 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Thomas Jefferson once said: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” ~Thomas Jefferson Please Vote NO on the Roswell City bond and send a message to Roswell City Government that it’s time to start living within their means just like the families of Roswell do every day. Sincerely, Jake Lilley Husband, Citizen, Volunteer
Lee Fleck October 27, 2012 at 03:11 PM
It is an axiom that once politicians get their hands on your money they will manipulate, deceive, and even lie to taxpayers to keep it, and that goes for Mayor Wood also. There is an implied contract between citizens and a governing body with regard to a general obligation bond. When voters agree to tax themselves, they expect that when a bond is retired the tax should go away. Currently Roswell property owners are paying $6.3 million in property taxes annually (slightly over 25% of their entire city tax bill) to service debt. There will no longer be a need to collect all that money beginning next fiscal year when the city becomes debt free. During the August 13 2012 Roswell City Council meeting the Mayor Wood repeatedly attempted to convenience the City Council to change the language of the bond question to specifically identify the individual projects and their associated costs. Council chose to keep the language vague so they could move monies around and spend bond monies as they saw fit. At that same meeting Mayor Wood had the City Legal Counsel, David Davidson confirm and advise Council members that the language on the current bond question was NOT project specific. It is a matter of public record. I insist that we “Boot the Bond”.
Lee Fleck October 27, 2012 at 03:25 PM
During the August 13 City Council meeting when Roswell City Council approved the bond referendum Mayor Wood said “the Holcomb Bridge, GA 400 improvements would not be ready for all $6 million” and “it takes GDOT five years to approve anything”. This is a matter of public record and is contained within the minutes of that meeting. Those minutes can be found on line at the city website. By Georgia state law 85% of bond monies MUST be spent within 3 years and that is why the language of the bond question is so vague so that in the event Roswell cannot spend bond monies in the allotted time it can be moved elsewhere.
Lee Fleck October 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM
To understand the motivation for this bond go to: http://roswell.patch.com/blog_posts/the-political-motivation-behind-the-roswell-bond-question
Lee Fleck October 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Again, during the Aug 13th Roswell City Council meeting, Mayor Jere Wood admitted that the city could use the “Pay as you Go” option. And on pge 37 of the approved FY2013 budget you can find that Roswell does in fact have $ 42 million in reserves of which $25.3 is excess, unallocated reserves. Again all a matter of public record.
Lee Fleck October 28, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Mr. Lilley, Please allow me to add another concern. There is only one item on the project list that is actually spelled out in the language of the bond question and that is for a replacement fire station (#4) located on H. Bridge adjacent to the Martin's Landing subdivision. The total construction cost for a new fire station that will meet the needs of our VOLUNTEER fire depart is $3.6 million. Roswell Chief Spencer has been requesting a new facility for two years and the city has had $2.3 million set aside in their capital & impounds accounts for this new facility for two years also. The city currently has $7.5 million in the O & M fund readily available at this very moment. So why have they been waiting on this critical public safety need? Hum.......................Could it be the City government is attempting to hold the residents of East Roswell hostage to this bond question?
Roswell Voter October 31, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Lower city taxes would be wonderful!!!
Trident November 01, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Investment castings Hi, I gone through your website about Investment castings its really wonderful.if you want additional information about Investment castings visit the website:http://www.tridentinvestmentcastings.com/aboutus.php
Allen Goodwin November 05, 2012 at 11:56 PM
These are worthy and achievable community goals. Review the city's project list here: http://martinslanding.s6.comwebhosting.net/admin/documentmodule/DocDisplay.aspx?q=ACJJ2yAvHRZ%2fHv0bWVxX1kM%2bjyK4wauwAgKHkvd%2fV1PmSFI1IRh3zw%3d%3d
Lee Fleck November 06, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Just read the bond question and you will realize that not one item on this fact sheet above is spelled out nor the associated investment. This is a "One Category" bond question and Council can spend the money as they see fit per the City Lawyer. It is English.

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