Fayette County News

Fayette County


Importance of March 21 SPLOST voted discussed

A bit of ice and the threat of snow wasn’t enough to stop the push for what is being called a much-needed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Referendum. The Board of Commissioners played host to a meeting Friday night with representatives from Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone, Brooks, and Woolsey as the March 21 special election grows closer.
If passed by voters, the six-year county-wide, one-cent SPLOST would bring in an estimated $141,014,157 in tax revenue. Fayette County and the municipalities would share the proceeds based on population, the county bringing in 46 percent ($64,646,530) with Peachtree City at 32 percent ($45,472,835), Fayetteville at 15 percent ($21,098,538), Tyrone at 6 percent ($9,102,463), and Brooks at under 1 percent ($693,791).
For the County, the lion’s share would go towards stormwater projects at $23,741,641 for 238 total projects.
“The purpose is to bring all of the stormwater projects up to where they need to be,” said County Manager Steve Rapson, noting that the stormwater utility would be ended and future reoccurring maintenance costs would be included in the general fund.
The County would also allocate $19,520,353 to 20 transportation projects, $18,211,536 to a public safety radio system, and $2,950,000 to three fire and emergency services projects.
Representatives from each municipality expressed their support for the SPLOST and the benefits it would bring.
Jon Rorie, City Manager of Peachtree City, was one of many to applaud the cooperation shown in support of the SPLOST push.
“It’s not a Peachtree City or a Tyrone issue, it is a Fayette County issue to include all of our residents and all of our municipalities,” said Rorie. “The purpose is to bring all of the municipalities together, as well as the County, to have a ballot initiative to ask the voters if they want to approve a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. I want to connect the dots that this is a unified approach to create a special tax district for the entire county.”
Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson agreed.
“This particular issue, as a first-term mayor, has opened my eyes to what can be achieved when we work together,” Johnson said, calling the SPLOST both realistic and vital.
Currently, Fayette is in a distinct minority of counties that do not have a SPLOST on the books.
“I want to emphasize this, there are 159 counties in Georgia, and we’re one of four that does not have a one-cent special local option sales tax,” noted Rorie. “A whole lot of other counties have determined that this is an effective mechanism to generate revenue for county-wide improvements.”
For Rapson, a key is that a SPLOST is a way to make out-of-county shoppers help pay for the roads and services they use when they come to Fayette. That ensures the bill won’t be entirely footed by residents.
“What’s special about it to me is that Spalding, Henry, Fulton, and all those other folks would be paying for this too, as opposed to just Fayette residents. That’s a huge piece of this that people don’t think about a whole lot,” said Rapson. “I’d encourage you the next time you go to the Pavilion or the Avenue to look at the tags on the cars that are sitting there. If they’re not tagged Fayette County then those are the folks that we’re talking about that would help pay for this SPLOST.”

By Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.