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Proposed sales-tax projects presented in S. Hall
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Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown talks about the Hall County's proposed list of projects on the next sales-tax program, which will go to voters March 17.

FLOWERY BRANCH - Hall County government officials laid out projects this morning under the next proposed sales-tax program to South Hall business and government leaders.

The special-purpose local option sales tax that would generate revenue between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2015, is set for a March 17 referendum.

"Not everybody is going to like everything that's in here," said Commission Chairman Tom Oliver. "... But these are opportunities we do not need to pass up."

County officials presented the list at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's South Hall Business Coalition, meeting at the Flowery Branch Depot.

They plan to talk about the projects again at noon Thursday before the chamber's board of directors, meeting at the Gainesville Civic Center on Green Street.

This morning's presentation stirred some discussion on what effect the souring economy is having on the current program and the need for improvements to traffic-choked Spout Springs Road in South Hall.

Phil Sutton, assistant county administrator, said the current program could fall short of its maximum revenue goal by $2 million or $3 million. As for Spout Springs, Hall plans to invest more money into designing the widening project, which could, in turn, help leverage construction money from the state.

South Hall government leaders seemed pleased with the list of projects, with Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown saying it contained projects that the city had submitted.

Flowery Branch Mayor Diane Hirling said, "I was quite anxious to see this list, that's for sure. Of course, we always wish we would be getting more money, but we're pleased we are getting $2.5 million and we know we will put it to good use."

Sutton also spoke about previous projects funded by the penny tax program, including the new Hall County Detention Center and Hall County Library System's Spout Springs branch.

"Without (the program), it would be very difficult to fund these projects," he said.

Brown said he believed that the program is "a fair way to fund capital projects."

"Our infrastructure and our facilities support more than just the residents here (but also) people who come to visit and spend dollars," he said.

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