Roswell places $14.7 million bond on November ballot

City leaders voted unanimously this week to put the issue on the Nov. 6 ballot over the protests of some residents who likened the proposal to the recently defeated regional transportation sales tax initiative.

Resident Jake Lilley challenged officials to take responsibility for their spending rather than shove the matter onto residents.

"We elected the mayor and city council to make exactly these type of decisions," he said.

But city officials said the major projects outlined in the funding proposal have been in queue for some time and they can be funded without raising the current property tax rate.

Finance director Keith Lee said as the city retires old debt from 2002 and 2008 bond issues, the new debt can be absorbed into the current mill levy.

The city had considered a $24 million bond, but decided to make the $14.7 million proposal because there was not complete agreement on whether some of the projects were ready to begin, said Councilman Rich Dippolito.

"We thought we were getting too far ahead of ourselves, so we decided to pull those out now," he said.

The project list includes construction of a new fire station, four synthetic turf fields, a segment of the Holcomb Bride Road multi-use trail, improvements at Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400, a multi-use path and bike lanes along Eves Road and expansion of the Adult Recreation Center.

Dippolito said the projects drew major support through public input from five public hearings held since January and from online comments on the city's website.

But resident Lee Fleck argued the city has enough money in its debt fund reserves to pay for the projects without committing to new debt. The city's financial documents from prior years, he said, anticipated enough surplus to pay for the projects.

"I contend this $14 million is absolutely unnecessary," Fleck said.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.