Stephens Co. Approves SPLOST VI Agreement; Avalon Included

Stephens County Commissioners officially set the SPLOST VI vote for this November.

County commissioners unanimously approved both the SPLOST VI resolution and the SPLOST VI intergovernmental agreement with the cities of Toccoa, Martin, and Avalon at their meeting on Tuesday.

The final intergovernmental agreement does include Avalon, which means that the town located next door to Martin will receive a small portion of SPLOST VI revenues if it passes.

Officials had raised questions over whether Avalon met the necessary three of 12 possible criteria that a city must establish in order to consider it a qualified municipality.

Avalon met only two of those, planning and zoning and solid waste management, as of last week.

However, Stephens County Attorney Brian Ranck said now that Avalon has established the necessary third criteria.

“The city of Avalon entered into a contract with the town of Martin to help fund the fire services and fire protection that will be provided to Avalon citizens,” said Ranck. “That meets the fire protection (qualification). That was the third.”

Meanwhile, Ranck said the intergovernmental agreement also formally lays out how the county and the municipalities will divide the SPLOST VI revenue.

“The first collections will be distributed to Martin and Avalon, I would imagine proportionally,” said Ranck. “Martin will receive $217,000 and Avalon will receive $106,000. That will come off the top. After they have received their allocations, Stephens County and Toccoa will split the remainder, 70/30 (with the county getting 70 percent).”

The intergovernmental agreement officially sets the SPLOST VI revenue estimate at $21.274 million for 6 years beginning July 1, 2014.

Of that, Stephens County would receive just under $14.67 million of that and the city of Toccoa would receive about $6.29 million.

Stephens County is proposing to use almost $10.4 million on roads, bridges, and culverts in the county. In addition among other projects, the county proposes spending $1.5 million on Sheriff’s Office vehicles, about $900,000 on ambulances, $750,000 on emergency communications, $400,000 on fire, and just over $383,000 on Recreation Department upgrades and improvements.

The city of Toccoa is proposing, among other projects, spending $2 million on water and sewer projects, $2 million on road resurfacing, just over $900,000 on a city pool, $500,000 on vehicle replacements, and just over $382,000 on renovations at the Schaefer Center.

Martin proposes using its SPLOST VI money for 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.

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

Stephens County voters will head to the polls on November 5 to decide whether or not to continue collecting the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax once SPLOST V ends on June 30, 2014.