Gwinnett County residents will have the opportunity to vote on a new three-year SPLOST this November. The SPLOST, with a primary focus on transportation, was approved unanimously this Tuesday by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.
If the SPLOST is victorious at the polls, it would take the place of the current SPLOST, which expires on March 31, 2014; the potential new SPLOST would expire in March 2017. The new program will potentially raise a maximum of $489 million. Gwinnett County would receive 78.9%, with 21% slated to be distributed among the 16 cities within the county. Gwinnett County would has also agreed to reserve $25 million for joint projects with the cities.
Several mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that SPLOST funds are being handled correctly and responsibly. Citizens of Gwinnett County will review and recommend the transportation projects and a committee of citizens will review and monitor all spending under the program. Additionally, annual audits and status reports to be posted on the county website.
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash had this to say regarding the outcome of the county-city agreements and Commission vote:
“The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax remains one of the most effective tools available to local governments in Georgia for funding infrastructure. It allows major projects to be built on a cash basis, which eliminates interest expense. We estimate this has saved Gwinnett taxpayers over $1.0 billion over the last three decades.
I am pleased that Gwinnett cities and the County have reached agreement to continue the use of SPLOST for essential community needs. Transportation projects will be the primary focus of the proposed 2014 SPLOST, with the County dedicating 70.0% of its share to this purpose. The cities, as a group, have pledged to spend more than 65.0% of the municipal share for transportation projects too.”
Gwinnett County has continually proven itself a responsible and successful manager of SPLOST funds and the Council for Quality Growth urges its members to support to the renewal of the Gwinnett County SPLOST this November.