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City, county talk SPLOST
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County and city officials met this week to discuss potential SPLOST projects.

Mayor James Grogan and County Manager Cindy Campbell shared with county commissioners and city council members a list of potential projects to be undertaken if the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is approved by voters in November.

June 19 is the day projects need to be set in order to be put on the ballot in November, Commissioner Chair Mike Berg said.

For the county to be able to collect the tax dollars for six years, the city and county must form an inter-governmental agreement. Otherwise, the county will be able to collect taxes only for five years. Based on projections, that would mean an estimated $8 million difference in collections.

Campbell projected that collecting SPLOST taxes for six years would bring in $45.3 million. The county would net $41.2 million and the city $4.1 million. The agreement calls for 20 percent automatically going to the county, and then splitting the rest based on population.

Campbell said the projections are based on SPLOST collections from February of 2014, with an estimated 6 percent growth for each year.

Grogan submitted a list of projects to the county that would cost about $9 million. His projects included park acquisition and development, sidewalk and road resurfacing, sewer and water projects, road equipment and building, debt reduction, farmers market acquisition, and revitalization of downtown.

Much of the discussion in Fridays meeting dealt with the automatic 20 percent of SPLOST that would go directly to the county.

Its my interpretation and what I understand is 20 percent off the top is for the city/county wide projects, Grogan said. So that 20 percent would be shared with the city with our Level 2 projects too, if they are servicing the county, too. For instance, a park which would service both city and county residents, along with your park which services city/county residents.

County attorney Joey Homans said the county government has to designate what is a county or Level 2 project.

Attorney Kevin Tallent, who represented the city, disagreed.

My interpretation is a little bit different, he said. Which is that the code determines what is a Level 2 countywide project and as a project meets the definition of a code determination of what a Level 2 project is, then its a Level 2 project.

A Level 2 project is a project that serves the entire county such as a park.

The city and county must now determine another time to meet for discussions before the June 19 deadline to finalize projects.