COLUMBIA CO., Ga. (WJBF) – Tuesday, Columbia County Commissioners unanimously agreed to go forward with the proposed list of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects. That list will go on the ballot November 8th for voters to have the final say.
“In a growing community like we have, we have been very dependent on SPLOST to be able to do capital projects. As a matter of fact, we’ve had a continuous SPLOST since 1990 in Columbia County. It has been renewed by the voters each time,” Columbia County Manager Scott Johnson said.
Since there’s currently a SPLOST in effect until December 31st, Columbia County sales tax is eight cents on the dollar. On November 8th, residents will vote to maintain or do away with the one-penny sales tax.
“We’re confident that voters will look at the list and support that. SPLOST is known to offset property tax because we’re not having to use property tax to do capital improvements in the county,” Johnson said.
Johnson says it took much time and consideration to put together the final list of projects, including four public listening sessions. He says several modifications were made after hearing from residents.
“Put your voice in. You can’t sit back and complain if you’re not willing to go out there and see what they’re doing and ask questions and tell them what it is you’re looking for,” Columbia County resident Michele Singletary said.
The SPLOST includes seven main categories. Johnson says a major standout is money allocated for public safety and emergency services.
“Fire trucks are very expensive. We have a ladder truck and an ariel truck, each of those trucks is over $1.5 million. That one penny really adds up when you’re talking about funding capital improvements in a county,” Johnsons said.
If approved, the SPLOST would provide more than $280 million over the next six years, with money allocated for Grovetown and Harlem.
“I think we’re comfortable with the list we have now. We’re comfortable with the SPLOST going forward and we have to wait and see what the voters will say,” Johnson said.
If voters decide they don’t want the SPLOST, sales tax in Columbia County will go back to seven cents on the dollar. The county would have to wait another year before proposing a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
CLICK HERE for the full list of projects.