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Oakwood, Buford to use sales tax for routine projects
If voters approve, Braselton will use SPLOST funds for stormwater issues
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The Times previews projects proposed under the special purpose local option sales tax VII. Today we spotlight South Hall city government projects. North Hall cities’ projects will be included in Monday’s edition.

Early voting: Begins Monday at the Hall County Elections Office, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

Election Day: March 17

Previous stories in the series examining the sales tax vote:

Public safety, road concerns top Hall SPLOST priorities

Roads, parks, fire top Gainesville SPLOST projects

Proposed tax would help Flowery Branch redevelopment

For some of the smaller cities in Hall County, sales tax revenue means assistance in routine infrastructure maintenance.

“The bottom line is, in order to stay on top of it, you need to do a couple of miles a year with the roads,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said of road maintenance. “If you don’t stay on top of it, it’ll start to decline.”

Voting for a special purpose local option sales tax is March 17; if approved, collections on the five-year tax will begin July 1.

Total projected revenue for SPLOST VII is $158 million; Oakwood is expected to receive $2.98 million from the tax if approved. About $1.68 million of that is assigned for road projects.

“We have several that need to be resurfaced, and McEver Road really needs to be worked — of course, part of it is in the city,” Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs said. “But we have some other areas that need to be worked on, too.”

According to Brown, the city spends around $300,000 annually for routine road maintenance. It receives $35,000 from the state through the Local Maintenance Improvements Grant for roadwork.

“So we use that as sort of the seed money, but obviously when you have $300,000 worth of need, what the state provides is very minimal,” Brown said.

An additional $1 million in SPLOST VII is for sewer infrastructure in Oakwood. Brown said that will help fund the downtown sewer project, which city officials hope to kick off this spring.

“We’d be picking up off Flat Creek Road, going along the creek here and then along the railroad, (and) down toward Chamblee Road where we can basically set up to serve that quadrant of town,” Brown said.

Some funds for Oakwood’s sewer project will also come from SPLOST VI.

“It’s been several years back that we started working on it and discussing the downtown area,” Scroggs said. “But we had to serve some other areas in order to get it close enough to the downtown area to be able to serve the downtown. We had to serve some other areas first, and be able to get close enough to serve the rest of the area.”

And $300,000 SPLOST VII funds are designated for replacing police cars. According to Brown, the city spends around $60,000 to replace two cars annually.

“Every couple of years, you have to rotate some in and some out,” Scroggs said.

Braselton’s portion in Hall County is set to receive $1.27 million for streets, sidewalks and the stormwater system.

More specifically, Braselton’s Clearwater subdivision has had stormwater issues, and there are plans for SPLOST money to address the problems. Town Manager Jennifer Dees said one of the issues is major clogging that occurs when tree branches fall into the storm drains.

SPLOST money would also be used to connect the neighborhoods along the new Ga. Highway 347 to give residents in that area nice places to stroll.

Village of Deaton Creek resident Phyllis Mercer says she is excited about the multipurpose path part of SPLOST, but has mixed feelings about it overall due to a debt issue.

“I think a project that will add sidewalks to my area is commendable,” said Mercer. “Residents who live in Deaton Creek, Reunion and Sterling (on the Lake) all want to live in a town where we can walk about on sidewalks, and we want beauty and ambiance.”

And for the portion of Buford in Hall County, SPLOST VII revenue is expected to generate around $711,000 for the city. The majority — $600,000 — is going to sewer infrastructure.

“Maintenance projects are just as-is,” Buford City Manager Bryan Kerlin said. “The sewer project, we have a sewer service area essentially south of Wade Orr (Road) and down to the Gwinnett/Hall County line.”

The remainder of Buford’s funds will go to routine road pavement and maintenance in the Hall County side of the city.

Early voting for SPLOST VII begins Monday.

Regional staff writer Farah Bohannon contributed to this report.

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