FLOWERY BRANCH — The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's board of directors voted Thursday to endorse the 1 percent sales tax for transportation, an issue that goes before voters statewide July 31.
No discussion took place as the board, meeting at Eagle Ranch children's home in South Hall, voted unanimously to support the referendum and to "work to educate citizens and to market (it) in Gainesville/Hall County and throughout the region."
The referendum will be decided in 12 individual regions through the state, with Hall County belonging to the 13-county Georgia Mountains region.
It would pass with a majority vote, or 50 percent plus one.
If it passes, the Georgia Mountains region would reap about $1.26 billion in revenue over 10 years, with about $300 million of that going to Hall County regional projects.
"Nobody likes taxes or wants a new tax, but sometimes you have to pay to play and set the tone for the future," said Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the chamber, after the board meeting.
Randall Frost, with Gainesville law firm Stewart, Melvin & Frost and chairman-elect of the chamber's board of directors, acknowledged that the proposed sales tax increase — from 7 to 8 percent in Hall County - is "a volatile issue."
But road needs haven't decreased during the economic downturn of the past few years.
"I see this (tax) as the most reasonable way to meet those infrastructure needs," he said. "In fact, I would say we neglected them more than we should have back when we had a robust economy."
Dunlap added that she expects the next two months will be spent "getting organized" for a campaign that could include mailings, community appearances and media advertising.