SPLOST VI Town Hall Held

Organizers say turnout was sparse for a town hall meeting held Monday to review SPLOST VI.

The meeting took place at the historic Stephens County Courthouse in downtown Toccoa.

A committee called the “Stephens County Friends of SPLOST VI” organized the meeting.

Committee Spokesman Barry Hodges said he got involved with the SPLOST effort after learning one of the projects would help his neighborhood.

“I got researching about what the projects were and discovered that one of them was a fire station in my neighborhood in the southeast part of the county,” said Hodges.

Hodges went on to say that led him to do more research into SPLOST VI and its projects.

“I discovered that it is really a good list of projects to continue the momentum that is created by SPLOST V,” said Hodges.  “I see this as a job generator for the county.”

If SPLOST VI passes next week, Stephens County and the municipalities of Toccoa, Martin, and Avalon would split an estimated $21-plus million over six years to spend on specified projects.

Major projects on the county’s SPLOST VI list include improvements to roads, bridges, and culverts, Sheriff’s Office vehicles, and ambulances, as well as spending on fire, the Recreation Department, and emergency communications.

Toccoa’s SPLOST list includes money for water and sewer projects, road resurfacing, the city pool, vehicle replacements, and SchaeferCenter renovations.

Meanwhile, Martin proposes spending SPLOST VI money on fire department equipment, the drilling of a water well and installation of water lines and water line relocations, a storage building for city property, and the purchase of property in downtown Martin for renovations and preservation.

Finally, Avalon will use its SPLOST VI revenue for construction of a City Hall building.

SPLOST VI would start on July 1, 2014, but Hodges said that it would just be a continuation of the one-cent SPLOST that people are already paying as part of SPLOST V, which runs through next June.

He also noted that county residents are not the only ones paying that tax, pointing out what he saw recently at a local restaurant.

“There were four tags from South   Carolina,” said Hodges.  “They are paying sales tax that we do not have to (in order) to help with our capital improvements.”

Early voting for the SPLOST VI special election is continuing this week at the Stephens County Registrar’s Office, located in the Stephens County Government Building in downtown Toccoa.

Election Day is a week from today.