Gillsville may be tiny, but it isn’t sleepy, at least when it comes to public improvement projects funded by the special purpose local option sales tax.
The East Hall city has spent about $146,050 of $266,000 in SPLOST money collected since November 1994 when the third tax program was approved by Hall County voters.
It has received $112,602 in tax revenues in the current round, SPLOST VI, which was approved by voters in March 2009, according to numbers provided by Hall County.
SPLOST VI is slated to end 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.
Gillsville has spent $40,500 on downtown buildings; $43,550, sewer and water improvements; $36,500, parks; and $25,500, road resurfacing. The numbers are estimates, Mayor Larry Poole said.
Work has included putting in a trail and new picnic tables, and upgrades to the community building, including a new roof, flooring and windows.
“Probably the largest single expenditure was a playground,” Poole said. “We got it on a special promotional deal just to help smaller communities. We were able to get a $25,000 outfit for $16,000 or $17,000.”
The playground is at the city park on County Line Road.
Also, the city has put in a sewer system for the downtown area.
“That’s not a big deal for some cities, but it’s a pretty big deal for us,” Poole said. “(The system) services all the buildings we own downtown.”
How the remaining $120,000 or so in SPLOST money will be spent is still to be determined.
“It will just depend on the most pressing needs,” Poole said.
“Certainly, some will be used for the continuation of our downtown buildings and associated property improvements. Still more facilities are needed at the park, and we have some pretty significant road work that we will have to get on as soon as adequate funding is available.”
Gillsville City Council hasn’t discussed possible projects that could benefit from passage of SPLOST VII.
“I think I would be safe in saying we will continue to address the major taxpayer needs, including road improvements, downtown upgrades and park enhancements,” Poole said.
He said he believes SPLOST, which is intended to ease the burden on property owners in paying for some public projects, especially high-dollar ones, is a “great concept.”
It “should be effective in accomplishing that objective, so long as the projects most needed by the taxpayers are those being funded,” Poole said.