NEWSLETTER DISTRICT 4 - JANUARY

PUBLIC BUS SYSTEM - MY OPINION

Douglas County CANNOT afford or need a full-blown transit system with 4-routes, 2 of which actually travelling outside Douglas County into Cobb and Fulton counties.

  • The original intent of the Board of Commissioners and the staff of Douglas County was1-2 routes looping INSIDE Douglas County, mostly to improve the mobility for senior citizens and the disabled.  The “buses” are actually 18-passenger vans. Although DC has a Voucher System for Seniors and the disabled for transportation, it only fills about half the need.
  • The GRTA Express bus system, now in place, is a federally funded system connecting to places outside Douglas County. 
  • However, the original plan has been grossly deviated from by Commissioner Kelly RobinsonChair of the Transportation Committee, who brought MARTA and a consulting firm with close ties to them to the table, and who suggested expanding the system to 4 routes, including 2 routes extending outside Douglas County into Cobb and Fulton counties.  They also recommended applying for a CMAQ (Federal) grant using these 4 routes, which was done.
  • Although Commissioner Robinson has stated in an open BOC meeting that there would be public meetings to “determine the routes”, DC Director Watson stated in the Jan 9th BOC meeting that Douglas County would pretty much “be obligated to the 4 routes” used in grant application, if the grant is ACCEPTED by a majority vote of the BOC in a open meeting.
  • This grant would be for $6.4 million over 3 years with about $400k county match, hopefully being mostly paid with estimated RIDER FARES, although the cost to ride has not been determined. Douglasville would not sign off on this grant application. Any shortfall would be paid out of the county General Fund.
  • For the past two years, Douglas County’s budgets have come up $8 million short.  The REVISED and adopted 2018 budget was balanced by using $600k from the Capital Transportation Fund (where funds are set aside for road and bridge emergencies), $500 from SPLOST FUNDS for the local match on our annual paving grant (LMIG), $3.4 million from reserves, and eliminating most of the critical Budget Improvement Requests requested by the other elected officials and department heads. 
  • If the HOPE of the 2017 budget, closing under budget and/or with additional revenues to roll into the 2018 budget, does not come to fruition, a tax increase could be on the horizon.  This has been hinted by the District 1 commissioner.
  • Douglas County has additional facilities that will be coming on line either in 2018 or 2019…the renovated John Bleakley Building that will house the Tax Commissioner’s Tag and Tax offices and the Appraisal office; the new SPLOST funded Senior Center in Lithia Springs, the Youth Center at Boundary Waters Park, and the new Fire Station off Douglas Hill Road.  All of these facilities will required additional employees and maintenance and operational costs.$$$$
  • DOUGLAS COUNTY CANNOT AFFORD to bring on a  large Bus System where any short fall of estimated funds OR operational costs will come out of the General Fund.  Once the grant funds end in 3 years, the TOTAL COST for operating the system will be funded by the taxpayers of Douglas County!  This is the main reason for the refusal by the City of Douglasville to sign the recently submitted grant application. Cobb County’s 2019 budget is $30 million short and one of the first things they are considering cutting is their bus system BECAUSE OF LACK OF RIDERSHIP.

Contact your Board of Commissioners by calling (770) 920-7266 or emailing
bdofcommissioners@co.douglas.ga.us .

Thank you Mr. "K" for removing the annoying sign on Mason Creek Road.....you are truly a man of your word!
"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light." 
George Washington