Voting ‘yes’ for TSPLOST is the best option for Decatur County

Published 2:16 pm Friday, July 7, 2017

Protecting and improving a community’s infrastructure is crucial to its livelihood. This is especially true when it comes to roads. Having quality streets and highways for residents and visitors to travel on is essential. The key is doing so without overburdening the taxpayers.

Decatur County has a solution that’s fair, effective and could have every major road in Decatur County paved within the next seven years.

On Wednesday, The Post-Searchlight published an article detailing Decatur County’s plan to add a Transportation Local Options Sales Tax (TSPLOST) to the November ballot.

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TSPLOST would be a 1 cent sales tax added to all transactions in Decatur County.

Sales tax would rise from 7 cents to 8 cents on the dollar. The tradeoff is the money raised from that one extra penny can go toward transportation improvement around the county.

The Post-Searchlight believes this is the best course of action for improving the roads in our county.

Everyone has a stretch of road in their mind they would like to see repaved. Cheney Griffin Park, portions of Lake Douglas Road and even stretches of Shotwell Street come to mind in the City of Bainbridge. Unpaved, high traffic roads in Decatur County that have needed to be paved for years can be added to that list as well.

The beauty of TSPLOST is every single transaction with sales tax in Decatur County goes toward repaving the roads. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here for 60 years or are from Michigan passing through on your way to the beach. It doesn’t matter if you buy a pack of gum or spend $2,000 on a new TV. It doesn’t matter whether you pay cash, credit or check. One percent of your 8 percent sales tax will go toward improving the community.

Up until this point, Decatur County and the City of Bainbridge have used small grants and money from their general funds to pave or repave our roads. Reducing the amount of money they pull from their bank accounts directly correlates to the millage rate, the tax property owners pay annually.

Nobody wants millage rates to continue to rise. With TSPLOST, it isn’t just property owners bearing the burden. Everyone who spends money in Decatur County will be contributing.

Another improvement that would be seen almost immediately if TSPLOST is passed by voters this fall is a change in the truck route.

Currently, the state truck route takes 18-wheelers straight through downtown, creating a series of tight turns that often disturb traffic and fills the air with the noisy roar of their engines.

The new truck route would move to Whigham Dairy Road, keeping trucks out of town except for special deliveries to businesses. The only problem is the road is considered too narrow by state standards for a truck route. Neither Decatur County nor Bainbridge could afford to widen it before, but this would be a very ideal project to put TSPLOST revenue toward.

Come Election Day in November, we hope residents throughout Decatur County will choose to vote “yes” for TSPLOST. Saying “yes” will improve our roadways for many years to come for a relatively small cost.