What slice of the sales tax pie will cities get if voters renew the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) in November?
Madison County commission chairman Anthony Dove met with mayors of the county’s six municipalities in his office Monday afternoon to discuss potential sales tax funds for each city if voters renew SPLOST in November.
Dove said the county projects between $12.5 and $12.6 million in total sales tax revenue over six years — roughly the same revenue projection as the last SPLOST in 2008.
Six years ago, the BOC approved $1.5 million for the cities to divide based on population. Dove said the same allocation for the municipalities is a good possibility for the next six years. But the five-member BOC will have to vote on how the tax funds are split.
The BOC recently heard from the 11 local volunteer fire departments and the rescue service who requested $1.2 million in sales tax funds over six years. This would bring $20,000 annually to each department to help cover equipment costs, such as firemen’s breathing apparatus, which can cost up to $6,000 each.
The county industrial authority has also requested $2 million for water and sewer upgrades over the next six years. Dove said the long-term water plan is to a system connected to several out-of-county water sources so the county can get competitive water rates in years to come. Local leaders have looked for other water options in recent years besides well water.
Dove said the BOC will meet soon with county department heads, such as the sheriff, the 9-1-1 director, the EMS head and the recreation director to hear requests for sales tax funding over the next six years.
But the chairman said the majority of the sales tax revenue will need to go toward roads. In 2008, the BOC allocated $3.95 million toward road improvements, which was about half of what the board approved in the 2003 SPLOST. He said the road allocation was inadequate the last go around.
“Roads will be the big issue,” said Dove. “That was kind of the downfall of the last SPLOST for us.”
Danielsville mayor Todd Higdon said he’d like the BOC to consider increasing the cities’ portion of SPLOST funding.
“I would like to see it increase if possible,” said Higdon. “Only because of some of the capital projects we’re asking for. Danielsville sat still for 20 years and we’re trying to be proactive in getting it turned around.”
The mayors didn’t discuss specific SPLOST projects Monday, but the chairman asked them to meet with him again in about a month to go over exactly what the cities want to do.
Dove and the mayors agreed that SPLOST is important to the counties and the municipalities and they said that they hope citizens recognize how much “buying local” helps the county’s economy.
The chairman said he plans to move quickly in coming weeks to get a SPLOST plan finalized.
“We’re going to get this thing done and put it out there so we can move forward,” he said.
Here’s a breakdown of the 2008 SPLOST allocation for the county’s municipalities: Carlton, $127,576; Colbert, $267,023; Comer, $575,779; Danielsville, $250,154; Hull, $87,591; and Ila, $179,556.