A sales tax first approved in 1985 and renewed six times is on the ballot Nov. 5 and could be used to fund capital projects for Hall County and its cities.
The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VIII is projected to bring in about $217 million between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2026. The money collected would be divided based on populations as of July 1, 2017 census numbers.
It is a sales tax of 1%, or a penny on the dollar, that must be used to pay for capital projects, not regular operations.
The countywide vote on SPLOST starts Monday, Oct. 14. Early voting will run, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 1 at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, in Gainesville. Voters can also go to their regular polling place on Nov. 5.
SPLOST law was enacted statewide in 1985. Hall County’s SPLOST I was approved by 53% of voters in July of that year, and the first SPLOST, which lasted two and a half years, generated $25 million for road, street and bridge improvements. Seven rounds of the tax have been approved by local voters since then, with support growing over the years. SPLOST VII was approved by 63% of voters in 2015.
SPLOST has paid for about $671 million in county and city projects since 1985. Investments over the years include the Hall County Government Center, new public safety vehicles, parks and community centers, libraries and several road projects.
If approved by voters, here’s how the governments would spend the money.
Total: Estimated $126,315,093
The county has allocated $35,871,920 for Tier II countywide projects, which include an expansion of the fire training center, a new library in East Hall and a new cell at the Hall County Landfill.
$73.6 million: Road improvements including the Sardis connector running from West Hall to North Hall, along with widening of Spout Springs Road in South Hall
$7 million: Fire services
$7 million: Trails and greenspace
$6 million: Parks
$6 million: Public safety, including the Hall County Sheriff’s Office
Total: Estimated $36,664,541
$15 million: Roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks
$9.16 million: Parks
$8.5 million: Public safety
$4 million: Downtown parking deck near the Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System
Other project ideas include a new police training building and renovations at the Gainesville Civic Center, including a new audiovisual system, City Manager Bryan Lackey told The Times in August.
Total: Estimated $6,792,614
$5.7 million: Roads and infrastructure, including improvements at Exit 12, where the Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to widen Interstate 985
$383,384: Public works property and equipment
$276,000: Public safety/police
Total: Estimated $3,768,357
The city is considering radius improvements on several Thurmon Tanner Parkway intersections to accommodate trucks, particularly Chamblee and Plainview roads, City Manager Stan Brown said in August.
$2.4 million: Roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks
$800,000: Water and sewer improvements
$600,000: Police vehicles and equipment
Total: Estimated $2,621,793
$1.3 million: Water and sewer improvements
$1 million: Roads and sidewalks
$262,118: Parks facilities, vehicles and equipment
Total: Estimated $2,374,789
Town Manager Jennifer Scott said in August that improvements are planned for LifePath, multi-use paths around and along Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 in Hall, Gwinnett and Barrow counties.
$1.2 million: Roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks
$1.2 million: Parks and leisure facilities
Total: Estimated $1,427,155
Buford’s whole SPLOST budget has been set aside for transportation projects.
Total: Estimated $864,877
$432,439: Roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks
$432,438: Parks facilities and equipment
Total: Estimated $220,746
$66,746: Downtown projects, including a new parking lot with about 20 spots and a new space for local artists to display their work
Total: Estimated $38,210
Rest Haven plans to spend all its SPLOST funds on transportation. Buford manages the operations of Rest Haven.
Reporter Jeff Gill contributed to this article.