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The Local Agenda: Hall SPLOST VI collections up in 2012

POSTED: July 30, 2012 11:30 p.m.

Hall County welcomed its strongest year of collections to date for the current special local option sales tax.

The voter-approved, penny sales tax goes toward capital projects for county and municipal governments.

According to a report given to county officials on Monday, Hall County will collect $2.4 million for SPLOST VI from June, said Hall County Finance Director Vickie Neikirk.

That brings the fiscal 2012 total, which ended in June, to $26.9 million, or up more than $2.5 million, from fiscal 2011.

SPLOST VI was approved by voters in March 2009 and went into effect that July just as the recession was hitting U.S. consumers.

Tim Sims, Hall County’s purchasing manager, says collections with the SPLOST have been following trends with the national economy.

While originally projected to collect $240 million, economic conditions have forced local officials to scale back expectations.

Three years into the six-year tax, only about $75 million has been collected.

New projections anticipate about $162 million through 2015.

At least for now, officials say Hall County is on track to reach that subdued goal.

“In our book, that’s a pretty good projection,” he said. “As long as the economy stays like it is and we don’t have another bump in the road, we are on a good path.”

June’s collections were down slightly from May’s $2.5 million.

On the other hand, receipts were also higher than last June’s $2.3 million and June 2010’s $1.1 million.

Future of Hall solid waste services still in question
Efforts to decide who will operate solid waste services were postponed earlier this month, as the Hall County Board of Commissioners tries to ensure the decision-making process isn’t too costly.

The topic is expected to come up again next week.

Hall County government put its solid waste services, which are responsible for the county’s 13 compactor sites and transports the collected waste to the landfill for disposal, up for bid this spring.

The move has forced the county’s Solid Waste Division to compete with private companies for providing the service at the lowest cost for taxpayers.

County officials received six bids to provide the service.

But before the Hall County Board of Commissioners chooses the winning bid, it will first hire an independent firm to vet the bids.

The county appeared to be close to hiring Atlanta-based consulting firm, Mercer Group, for that task, but balked earlier this month.

The Mercer Group, according to its website, offers consulting services for federal state and local governments, as well as private-sector clients.

Commissioner Scott Gibbs said there were questions about how much the county would end up paying the firm.

The topic could come up again at next week’s commissioners’ work session.

Once the county selects who is going to analyze the bids, it could still take weeks before a recommendation gets back to the commissioners.


Aaron Hale covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:
ahale@gainesvilletimes.com, facebook.com/TimesAaronHale, @HaleGainesTimes


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