Danielsville leaders plan to ask for a considerably bigger slice of the next county SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) pie. Madison County voters will go to the polls this November to decide whether or not to renew a six-year, one-cent sales tax for county improvements, with some of that money to be divided among the county’s six towns.
The tax, if approved, is expected to generate roughly $12.5 million to $12.6 million over the next six years — approximately the same amount generated over the past six years.
At Danielsville’s Monday night council meeting, Mayor Todd Higdon gave the city council an overview of what he planned to present at an April 10 meeting between county commissioners and mayors to discuss the cities’ portion of SPLOST dollars. He said he planned to ask for $780,000 as the city’s portion. The city received approximately $250,000 in the last SPLOST.
Higdon pointed out that Danielsville is where much of SPLOST funds are generated, while being at a disadvantage since it can only draw approximately 60 percent of local property taxes because of the county and school-owned property that do not pay taxes, but still utilize city services.
He said the city’s infrastructure needs are dire.
“We are plagued with water problems,” he said. “Our 1940 water pipes are really showing their age.”
In the past 12 months, the maintenance department has repaired over 120 water leaks, he said.
And in turn, the continual patching and re-patching of waterlines has taken a toll on the city’s streets and sidewalks.
“There’s 6,000 feet of waterline that’s got to be replaced, no ifs ands or buts,” Higdon said. “And that alone will cost over $300,000.”
He said this figure did not include possible additions for future school growth and fire protection.
Other uses of SPLOST dollars over the next six years include sewer system upgrades (a new lift station at a cost of $180,000), street and sidewalk improvements (estimated at $275,000), a new dump truck and police cars (estimated at a cost of $100,000).
Higdon reminded the council that these were projected improvements to be completed or purchased over the next six years.
“And we’re not asking to buy things, we’re asking for things that will last for the next 40 years or more,” Higdon said. “We can’t kick this maintenance issue down the road.”
In other business Monday night, the council voted to replace the memorial garden fence at a cost of $3,400. Higdon said the maintenance department dismantled the old fence to save money. They agreed to put replacing the stucco and brick on hold in order to get bids to re-brick. Higdon pointed out that the funds for the projects will come from the cemetery fund, not the general fund.
“We don’t want to do a halfway job on this, this (cemetery) is a sacred place to a lot of folks and we want to do it right,” he said.
City attorney Dale Perry said the state has approved the city’s charter revision, which among other changes, lengthens future city council terms and staggers municipal elections.
“Representative Tom McCall did a great job pushing this through for us,” Perry said.