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Lula, Gillsville joining Banks in May 22 transportation sales tax vote
A crew works this past year on paving the new Ga. 347 near Chateau Corners Drive. - photo by Courtesy Department of Transportation

Lula and Gillsville are taking part in a transportation special purpose local option sales tax referendum, or TSPLOST, but not in Hall County — at least not yet.

The two cities have joined with Banks County and Banks cities of Maysville, Alto, Homer and Baldwin in a May 22 vote that would add a 1 percent sales tax for transportation projects inside Banks’ boundaries.

If approved, the additional sales tax — imposed only inside Banks County — would run from Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2023, according to an agreement signed by the governments.

The tax would raise no more than $15 million overall, the agreement states.

Unincorporated Banks would get the lion’s share of proceeds, or nearly 75 percent. The other 25 percent goes to the cities.

Lula would receive $165,427 for resurfacing, sidewalks, signs, intersection improvements and equipment, and Gillsville would receive $29,316 toward a connector project, according to TSPLOST documents.

“Each city in Banks County would receive a portion of the tax based upon population living in Banks,” Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin said.

He said he believes the Lula City Council “would be very specific (with projects), probably addressing some safety issues first and foremost.”

Gillsville Mayor Roy Turpin said his city would like to use the money to go toward building a road connecting Church Street to Old Gillsville Road.

The overall project could cost $258,000, “so we’ll have to bundle some money somehow to do that (project),” Turpin said. 

A Hall County TSPLOST referendum has been discussed, but hasn’t gained much traction.

“We desperately need more money for transportation,” said Richard Higgins, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners. “I think everyone agrees we need to do one. It’s just a matter of timing.”

The Hall County government has a SPLOST for a variety of projects. The current five-year program, approved by voters in March 2015, includes nearly $47 million for road improvement projects.

And voters also have approved an education SPLOST, which distributes money to the school systems in Hall.

A regional TSPLOST went before voters in 2012 and voters in most regions throughout Georgia — including Hall as part of the Georgia Mountains — rejected the measure. Voters in the 13-county Georgia Mountains region defeated the referendum by a 75 percent vote.

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