Stephens Co. Commission Talks SPLOST

Stephens County Commissioners begin talking about SPLOST Six.

The county commission held a work session to talk about the next SPLOST following Tuesday’s Stephens County Commission meeting.

Stephens County Administrator Phyllis Ayers presented commissioners with a timeline for the upcoming SPLOST.

According to that timeline, the SPLOST referendum would go before voters this coming November. If voters approve a continuation of the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, collections on SPLOST Six would begin on July 1, 2014 since the current SPLOST ends on June 30, 2014. Prior to November, meetings will take place between Stephens County, Toccoa, and Martin to work out the details of what will be proposed in SPLOST Six, such as the division of the money raised and what projects will be put forward to be paid for with SPLOST Six funds if approved by the voters.

County commissioners have already started looking at some possible SPLOST Six projects.

Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough said he would like the county to think a lot about using SPLOST funds to pay for projects that would otherwise come from property tax revenues.

“I would like to see us choose projects where things are going to have to be spent anyway,” said Scarborough. “Therefore, we are reducing the burden of our property tax.”

County commissioners pointed to putting SPLOST money into roads and bridges as such an example of that.

Commissioners also noted that it is important to make sure that the public supports where the SPLOST money is going.

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners began talking about possible projects for SPLOST possibilities for departments such as volunteer fire, EMS, the sheriff’s office, recreation, and others. On the topic of a county pool, Scarborough said it would be a good idea. However, other commissioners pointed to concerns about ongoing maintenance and operation costs once it is built.

Commissioners will continue to meet about SPLOST Six. Then in the spring, meetings are scheduled to begin between the county and the municipalities.

On another SPLOST-related note, commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday in support of a resolution from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia regarding SPLOST.

That resolution calls on the Georgia General Assembly to allow SPLOST revenues to be used for maintenance and operation of facilities formerly or currently built with SPLOST funds, as well as allow borrowing funds from SPLOST on a short-term basis.