We’ll all pay eight cents sales tax starting October 1

Pierce County residents will begin paying eight cents sales tax Monday, October 1, as the new, regional transportation special local option sales tax (TSPLOST) goes into effect.

The T-SPLOST was passed by voters in the Southern Georgia Region on May 22. The one percent sales tax passed in Pierce County 1,690-1,161 and garnered 19,975 yes votes to 17,731 no votes in the 18 counties district-wide, according to a county-by-county compilation of results available at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. Pierce County passed the tax by about 60 percent of the vote.

The referendum allows the implementation of a one-percent sales tax for 10 years, in which raised funds are used solely for transportation purposes. In addition to Pierce, the tax increase includes Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, Turner and Ware.

The tax is expected to generate $513 million dollars over the next 10 years. Pierce County is projected to receive up to  $22,880,514 over the 10 year span of the tax.

Local businesses will start collecting the additional one-cent which will help to fund transportation projects on the Transportation Investment Act (TIA)  investment list. The investment list has a total of 151 various transportation projects throughout the region.

Pierce County projects to be funded by the tax include  U.S. Highway 84, County Farm Road, New School Road ($8,500,000), Golf Course Road ($3,408,000), Patterson street resurfacing ($2.750 million), Ware Street improvements ($2,600,000) St. Johns Church Road ($2,440,300), Horseshoe Road/Fletcher Road areas ($1,681,890) and City of Blackshear Session Hill project ($1,500,324).

These projects will be completed in bands or phases once the sales tax takes effect.  Band one projects are slated to reach the construction phase between October 2018 and September 2022. Band two projects are scheduled through 2025 and band three projects should reach construction by 2028.

The Southern Georgia Region will also receive a LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) match reduction to 10 percent from 30 percent. TIA is administered by the GDOT TIA office, revenue oversight is provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue and the Georgia Financing and Investment Commission, and progress is monitored by a Citizens Review Panel.