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SPLOST VII begins Wednesday, E-SPLOST scheduled for fall
New round of tax kicks in
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Wednesday marks the start of a new round of special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII.

The 1 percent sales tax has funded everything from parks and public works projects to public safety operations and building construction over many years.

The continuation of the tax for another five years will generate an estimated $158 million to fund road improvements, upgrades to the emergency 911 system, renovations to the main library branch in downtown Gainesville and remodeling of the Senior Life Center.

SPLOST money cannot be spent on maintenance and operations costs, meaning these expenses will fall on the general fund and other revenue streams in the budget.

With a turnout of just 6.5 percent of registered voters in March, SPLOST VII passed 63.46 percent to 36.54 percent.

Just 5,408 of more than 83,000 registered voters in the county cast ballots in the referendum.

Meanwhile, a new E-SPLOST to fund local education projects is scheduled for November.

Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield said he expects the tax, if passed by voters, to generate between $25 and $35 million per year over five years for the county, Gainesville and Buford schools.

The specific project list is still being developed, he added.

The current E-SPLOST ends in September 2017 and will generate about $100 million for the county school district, according to Schofield.

“With historically low interest rates, (holding the vote this fall) gives all three systems an opportunity to pre-sell bonds for capital projects,” Schofield said.  

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