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Where does SPLOST money go?

Several projects are slated to get a portion of the $240 million

POSTED: September 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

The U.S. post office on Green Street. Contributing $3 million toward the relocation of the office is one project proposed for funding under SPLOST VI.

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Hall County government officials addressed the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce at its Thursday meeting about capital projects on the upcoming SPLOST VI referendum.

The new list of projects to be funded by the temporary 1 cent sales tax will be on the ballot March 17, the last election before SPLOST V expires.

"This SPLOST has got a little bit for everybody," said Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver, referring to the variety of projects and locations throughout the county that will receive money for improvements.

Historically, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce has been involved in publicizing SPLOST, and President Kit Dunlap said they will likely do so again this year.

"We haven’t voted as a board to do that, but we will a little later," Dunlap said, marking October or November as the likely time that vote would take place. "But the chamber has been the one that’s taken on the education of the community."

County Attorney Bill Blalock said Hall County officials cannot legally advertise SPLOST VI because the government cannot spend public funds for the purpose of promoting legislation.

At Thursday’s meeting, Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton went through the list of proposed SPLOST VI projects, and explained how many of them fit in well with the chamber’s "Vision 2030" plan, a long-term plan for improving quality of life in Gainesville and Hall County.

For example, Gainesville and Gillsville both have money allotted in SPLOST VI to revitalize their downtown areas.

County projects include road improvements and construction, water and sewer projects, new parks, a new library in North Hall and rehabilitating the 1936 Historic Courthouse for the growing court system.

The special purpose local option sales tax would generate revenue between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2015.

Interim County Administrator Charlie Nix also explained the history of the sales tax and some of the major facilities it has been used to fund in Hall County.

"Since 1985, SPLOST has been truly instrumental," Nix said.

He said the list of projects voted on under SPLOST V, which will expire June 30, 2009, is 75 percent complete.

Money from the SPLOST V was used to build the new jail, the Spout Springs library and the 800 MHz emergency radio system.

Sutton said one of the benefits of SPLOST is that it enables the government to take on large projects without rasing property taxes. Plus, Hall County estimates up to 40 percent of SPLOST money is provided by out of town visitors.

"We think this is a fair tax," Sutton said. "People can use the community and the community’s facilities, paying through their sales tax."



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