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SPLOST extension overwhelmingly passes
1-cent tax expected to generate $46 million over six years
1 Election pic
Poll workers Emily Truitt, left, and Cathy Cox help voter Tricia Crump, right, get ready to cast her ballot. Check for election results. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Statewide coverage can be found here.

Voters in Dawson County overwhelmingly approved extending the current 1-cent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

The 1-cent sales tax extension passed by 70.35 percent, or 5,066 votes, to 29.65 percent, or 2,135 votes.

The tax is expected to generate an estimated $46 million over the next six years.

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce supported the tax extension.

"We are grateful to all our citizens who cast their votes and supported the continuation of SPLOST," said chamber president Christie Haynes. "The $46 million projected revenue will help our community be better positioned for future economic development and continue to support and improve the quality of life that we all hold dear."

Clint Bearden chaired the chamber's initiative to promote SPLOST.

"It's a great result for Dawson County and a real testament to the wisdom of our voters, as it [SPLOST] will allow our county and city leaders to continue improving our community without a tax increase and with a clear majority of the funding coming from visitors to our county," he said. "I'm very proud of the work of the chamber and our chamber members to help ensure such a strong level of support."

An agreement would split the funds at a ratio of 85 percent to Dawson County, whose officials say roads are top priority, and 15 percent to the city of Dawsonville, where a park on Main Street is planned.

The county's project list also includes park improvements and the purchase of public safety vehicles such as patrol cars and an ambulance, while city officials say collections could fund water and sewer improvements.

"The citizens understand the need for a SPLOST VI, and they also understand that 85 percent or so is being paid by other people," said County Commission Chair Mike Berg. "So it's a referendum by the citizens for the county and the city."

The current sales tax program, known as SPLOST V, was approved by voters in 2007. It started in 2009 and runs through May. SPLOST VI is expected to begin in June.

Of the county's 13,300 registered voters, more than 7,354, or 55.29 percent, cast ballots on Election day and the early voting period leading up to today.