SPLOST

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, June 18, to decide whether to extend the county’s special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

The county commission unanimously approved the call for a referendum at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

The county commission was the last of the local governments to approve the SPLOST.

The city councils in Blackshear, Offerman and Patterson have already signed off on the agreement spelling out how the proceeds will be spent.  

The current SPLOST, approved in 2014, will sunset March 31, 2020 and the new

tax would begin once the old one ends.

The current SPLOST is projected to generate $10 million and is expected to sunset a little early based on better than expected revenues.

The proposed SPLOST, if approved by voters, is projected to generate $14.4 million over the next six years.

The county expects to get about $9.4 million as its share of the proceeds and plans to use $3.2 million for construction for a new jail, $1.3 million to retire the mortgage on the Southeast Georgia Regional Agriculture Center (SEGARAC), $1.8 million for public safety equipment, $1.7 million for road maintenance and $1.1 million for parks and recreation.

Blackshear council passed the resolution last week. Blackshear will use approximately $1.9 million of its $3.55 million for water and sewer construction and maintenance, followed by $889,200 for road maintenance and construction. The city is also allocating $355,680 for public safety and $320,112 for recreation/historical/downtown projects.

Patterson Mayor Dedi Thomas discussed the tax with the city council there at their regular meeting last month.

Patterson will also be using the bulk of its $992,160 share of the proceeds to pay for water and sewer infrastructure repairs.

Offerman will be looking to build a community/emergency shelter and pave additional roads in the city with its portion of the tax, which is about $437,760.

Proceeds from the tax will be divided between the county and cities roughly based on population.

The county will receive the bulk of the funds at 65.37 percent. Blackshear gets 24.7 percent, Patterson, 6.89 percent, and Offerman gets 3.04 percent.