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Deadline looms for SPLOST agreement

POSTED: June 18, 2014 4:00 a.m.

Thursday is the deadline for county and city officials to reach an agreement on the upcoming special purpose local option sales tax extension set to go before voters in November.

As of Tuesday, no agreement had been reached, though there are still high hopes for a resolution.

"I hope something occurs before Thursday," said Mike Berg, chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.

"We'll have to vote on Thursday. It has to be turned in to the elections office for them to send it out to be on the November ballots."

Revenue projections from the tax range from $36.4 million over five years without a governmental agreement to $45.3 million for six years with an agreement.

An agreement must be reached for the tax to be collected for six years.

"It's not a county/city tax. It's a county tax that the city can participate in," Berg said.

During a meeting last month, county commissioners and members of the Dawsonville City Council outlined potential projects each government would like to see funded by the tax.

At issue, according to Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan, is the city's proposed $9.6 million list of projects to be funded by the 1-cent tax extension.

The city's wish list of projects ranges from reducing the debt on the municipal complex and revitalizing downtown to funds for new sidewalks and acquiring land for a farmers' market and city park.

"There's been no change from our original presentation. We made an offer to the county and, so far, they've refused. The previous list is what we're going into negotiations with," Grogan said Tuesday.

County officials have said roads are the top priority for the sales tax collections, amounting to an estimated 63 to 72 percent of the county's proposed public works projects.

The county's list also includes funds for park improvements and to buy public safety vehicles such as patrol cars and an ambulance, as well as IT equipment and file storage.

Both sides have said they are not planning to prefund any purchases and all projects would be funded on a "pay as you go" basis.

The current sales tax program, SPLOST V, was approved by voters in 2007. It started in 2009 and continues through May 2015. If passed, SPLOST VI would begin in June 2015.

The county commission is set to approve a draft of the SPLOST VI resolution during Thursday's meeting to be held at 6 p.m. at the Dawson County Government Center.




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