Harris County SPLOST vote: What it means for residents - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

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Harris County SPLOST vote: What it means for residents

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Greg Wood Greg Wood
John Knop John Knop

Harris County residents are voting on whether to renew the special purpose local option sales tax.

The current 1% special purpose local option sales tax was approved in 2008. It's set to expire in January, unless residents vote to renew it. County officials say they need the tax for public improvements, but some residents disagree.

"Our politicians in Washington are trying to tax us back into relevance and it never stops. I'm afraid that's going to happen here locally," says John Knop, the Treasurer of the Harris County Republican Party.

County Manager Greg Wood says the tax has funded most of the county's major projects.

"It keeps the county from going into long-term debt. For example, one of the major components is a purchase of 10 fire trucks. The fire truck isn't something we can go down to the local ford dealership and pickup," says Wood.

The proposed SPLOST will pay for projects such as an expansion of the public library, improvements to the public water system and construction of roads and buildings.

"Street and roads and emergency equipment is the proper role of government, everything else on the list seems to be a wish-list," says Knop.

But Wood says there would be consequences if the referendum does not pass.

"It would require a property tax to offset some of things that are funded by SPLOST right now," says Wood.

"The question residents of Harris County have to ask themselves is, ‘are they the best stewards of the money or would they rather the government spend that for them?'

Early voting ends on Friday. You can cast a ballot at the Harris County courthouse, or go to your local precinct next Tuesday on Election Day.

Harris County election officials say about 300 people have participated in early voting.

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