Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

September 25, 2013

Milling over Remerton SPLOST

REMERTON — In 2007, the owners of the Remerton Mill worked with the then-city manager, mayor and council of Remerton to develop a private-public partnership to renovate the old mill property. The city’s management at that time agreed and voted to place the relocation of city offices to the mill as part of the SPLOST VI referendum.

When the mill’s owners began demolition proceedings recently, questions and allegations concerning the money that was supposed to be set aside for the project began to surface. If the mill is gone, how can the offices be moved and what has happened to the money?

Citizens can rest assured — the money is still there. The administration of Remerton is complying with all state laws governing SPLOST dollars, filing the required annual audit reports with the state, and can easily show citizens that the money is in the account. State law is strict when it comes to reallocating SPLOST funds, and the city will have to follow the guidelines of declaring the project infeasible, and requesting that the city’s residents approve a referendum to allow the money to be paid into the general fund to either purchase property and build new municipal offices, and perhaps a new fire station or structure to house the trucks, or to renovate and expand the current offices.

The city’s financial records and audits can be viewed by any citizen, and the state audit clearly shows the balance that is supposed to be there remains unspent. There is less being collected than the estimated amount from SPLOST VI, so the total collected for each line item has been reduced as well.

Remerton officials were open in addressing citizen concerns and justifiably proud of their small “city within a city.” Officials are using SPLOST dollars in the manner approved by the voters and their financial statements reflect their stewardship.

Shame on those who have taken the allegations as fact, and are using this to discredit the current SPLOST VII up for vote on Nov. 5. Citizens should base their votes on facts, not rumors.

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