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Lula deciding how to spend SPLOST money

POSTED: January 15, 2014 12:17 a.m.

Lula has collected nearly $1.23 million in the current special purpose local option sales tax, which expires next year, with officials now weighing how to spend $220,162 in undesignated money.

The northeast Hall County city has spent $194,627 for water and sewer improvements, $256,939 in “streetscape” upgrades and $324,922 in road fixes, primarily resurfacing, said City Manager Dennis Bergin, noting the numbers “may not include all debit or credits and have not been audited.”

With a $453,162 balance, Lula is looking to spend $108,000 for a streetscape project, or beautification around streets. Another $99,000 would go toward a sewer line replacement project, and $26,000 is targeted for park improvements over the next three months.

The remaining $220,162 could be used for sewer debt and system improvements, Bergin said.

The six-year tax, which was approved by Hall County voters in March 2009, is due to expire next year, with area government officials starting to ponder a seventh round of SPLOST improvements, or SPLOST VII. The new tax, like its predecessors, would have to be approved by voters.

Mayor Milton Turner said he believes road resurfacing, sewer improvements, parks and possibly sewer plant debt relief should be considered as part of a renewal.

The sewer fixes would focus particularly on “replacement of some of our older lines,” he said.

Turner said he would like to see voters approve another SPLOST.

“People don’t realize what you can do with that 1-penny sales tax and doing capital improvements versus trying to put it on the taxpayer with property taxes,” he said. “It goes a long, long way.”

Bergin said, “The council’s position is that any place we can make improvements to infrastructure will bring more economic development, and that’s key for the North Hall area.”

He noted that Lula has “really jumped on” the chance to team up with other cities, such as Oakwood and Flowery Branch, on joint road resurfacing contracts in recent years.

“I’d like to say we’re ahead of the game, but you’re never ahead of road resurfacing,” Bergin said. “But we’re real pleased with how far we’ve come with it.”


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