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Your Views: Sales tax is an investment in community
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As chairman of Hall Progress 2015, I am writing to express my support for SPLOST VII. I want to encourage our community to make a strong showing at the polls. Early voting began on Feb. 23 and continues through March 13.

If you are not able to make it to early voting, regular voting locations will be open on March 17 to provide another opportunity to vote at your precinct. Do your part and vote “yes” to continue our local, community controlled one-penny local sales tax for infrastructure which has been in place since 1985.

In my view, continuation of the special purpose local option sales tax is the most efficient way to provide necessary capital improvements for our community. Before placing your vote, please consider this: SPLOST pennies are collected locally and stay here locally to pay for a list of community needs. In addition to local control, another strong reason to vote yes is nearly half of the money comes from out of county residents who visit, work and shop here.

I have personally reviewed the projects on the SPLOST VII list. It is not a wish list. It is a list of critical needs including upgrades to our Emergency 911 system, new emergency vehicles and much needed countywide road improvements. It includes renovations to the main branch of our public library, enhancements to the Gainesville–Hall County Senior Center and a new youth athletic complex.

The list also includes money for the necessary expansion of our county landfill facility as well as new fire stations and equipment which will result in reduced fire insurance premiums for areas of our county.

The SPLOST project list includes all towns and cities within Hall County which means that a “yes” vote will provide funds for those local governments to improve services within their individual jurisdictions. These countywide investments will strengthen our infrastructure and economic development potential. If we don’t continue to use SPLOST money to fund these needed facilities, then the likely alternative is higher property taxes.

One way or another, we need to constantly strive to make our community a more efficient, safe and economically viable place to live and provide for our families. Our community is better because of SPLOST. We owe it to ourselves and each other to keep a good thing going. Please join me in voting “Yes” for SPLOST VII.

William Bagwell
chairman, Hall Progress 2015, Gainesville

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