Gwinnett County residents will have the opportunity to vote on a new three-year SPLOST on November 5th. The SPLOST, with a primary focus on transportation, will be the only matter on the countywide ballots this November.
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.
In a meeting with Council members this past week, Gwinnett County Commissioner Lynette Howard emphasized how crucial the SPLOST is for Gwinnett County, arguing that if the SPLOST was defeated in the polls, Gwinnett County would have to change its roads system because it would no longer have the money needed for maintenance.
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash also affirmed the importance of this SPLOST, saying shortly after county-city agreements and a unanimous vote by the Board of Commissioner placed the SPLOST vote on the November ballot:
“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.”
To learn more about the SPLOST and specifics on how these SPLOST dollars will be spent, click here.
To read recent coverage on this issue in the Gwinnett Daily Post, click here.
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 the renewal of the Gwinnett County SPLOST on November 5th.