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Voters say ‘Yes” to 1 cent sales tax for road projects

T-SPLOST, a 1 cent sales tax that will generate revenue for road projects in Decatur County, was passed on Tuesday 764-455.

T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Local Options Sales Tax) will go into effect April 1, 2018, and runs on a five-year cycle, finishing March 31, 2023. During that time, all sales except for gasoline in Decatur County will see a tax increase from 7 percent to 8 percent on the dollar.

The revenue generated from this, projected to be around $24 million over the five-year cycle, will go toward improving roadways in Decatur County and its municipalities.

“The county’s road maintenance and resurfacing needs greatly surpass the financial resources,” said Decatur County administrator Alan Thomas. “This will bridge that gap and allow us to respond to those needs in a more rapid manor than we would be able to otherwise.”

Decatur County is actively working toward lowering its millage rate for taxpayers, and passing T-SPLOST is a step in the right direction toward that goal. By having a special revenue stream from sales tax that can go toward road projects, Decatur’s County general budget can have more breathing room.

At the very least, T-SPLOST will help stabilize the budget and greatly reduce the likelihood of a millage rate increase.

“I am thrilled our citizens chose a 1 cent sales tax over a possible property tax increase,” said Pete Stephens, chairman of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners.

The distribution for T-SPLOST’s revenue will be 61.61 percent to Decatur County, 35 percent to City of Bainbridge, 1.61 percent to Attapulgus, .77 percent to Brinson and 1.01 percent to Climax.

“We have deep respect for the collective wisdom of the voters and for the election process,” said Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby. “Elections have consequences, and this one is no different. The city will fully honor the decision that was made today by the voters.”

Revenue generated for T-SPLOST will come from all sales in Decatur County, whether the buyer is a Decatur County resident or not. According to a Georgia Power study, around 31 percent of all sales in the county are from non-residents.

The revenue generated will also be for Decatur County use only, and will not be used on projects outside of county lines.

When T-SPLOST’s cycle ends in March 2023, the referendum can be reduced or renegotiated at that time.