A pivotal day many months in the making is nearly here. Tuesday, March 21, voters who haven’t already voted early will be asked to approve a referendum for a one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) aimed at helping the county and its municipalities fund a number of needed improvements in transportation, stormwater infrastructure, public safety, and facilities.
The SPLOST is touted as a way to let our neighbors help foot the bill for improvements to infrastructure that they use. While a property tax is only paid by property owners in the county, a SPLOST would see anyone who shops or dines in the county helping chipping in. All counties surrounding Fayette currently have a SPLOST, meaning Fayette residents contribute when they shop out of the county, but not the reverse. Currently, Fayette has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the state at six cents. Of those six cents, four go to the state, one goes to the school system, and one goes to the county.
If approved, the six-year SPLOST would bring in an estimated $141,014,157 in tax revenue to be divvied up between the County and municipalities based on population. Fayette County would take the largest share at $64,646,530, followed by Peachtree City at $45,472,835, Fayetteville at $21,098,538, Tyrone at $9,102,463, and Brooks at $693,791.
Without a SPLOST, a significant property tax increase and/or cuts in services would be needed in order to fund the same projects. For the county, 37 percent of its share would go towards stormwater infrastructure projects. The need to catch up years of stormwater maintenance was highlighted by the December 2015 floods that washed out portions of three roads. The County would also spend 30 percent of their allotment on transportation projects, including road replacements and multi-use path projects, and 28 percent to upgrade an outdated public safety radio system for the E911 system.
For Peachtree City, the largest chunk of their share, at 65 percent, would go towards roads projects including resurfacing, pedestrian improvements, and safety improvements. Just over 20 percent would be spent on multi-use path repair and maintenance.
Fayetteville’s allotment would see the largest share spent on stormwater/wastewater, followed by transportation and public safety, including a new fire station.
In an effort to show voters where the moneys would go, each municipality has posted their project lists online and hosted public forums to discuss the plans.
For more information on the SPLOST referendum and the proposed project lists, visit fayettecountyga.gov/SPLOST-2017.htm.