County draws early wish list for SPLOST 8



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners got its first look into the next potential sales tax, which will be dubbed SPLOST 8, during a special called meeting Nov. 13. If approved by voters next November, the sales tax will run from July 2019 to June 2025.

SPLOST is a voter-approved, 1-cent local sales tax that has been in effect in Forsyth County since 1983. For every dollar spent in Forsyth County that is subject to sales tax, one penny goes into a fund devoted to specific capital improvement projects.

County Manager Eric Johnson said in October that estimates, based on an average economy, predict the tax should raise $274 million over its five-year term. Estimates based on a booming economy place the figure at $295 million. If the economy sours, the estimate falls to $242 million.

Some of the projects funded through SPLOST programs throughout the years include community buildings at parks, new fire stations and road projects.

Johnson said throughout the end of the year, a list of potential projects will be finalized. In January and February, the county will conduct 10 community meetings, two in each district, and a town hall meeting to discuss the projects.

In March and April, two special called meetings will be held to review the feedback and finalize the project list. Then in November, the county will have a chance to vote on the potential tax. In total, the early list of proposed projects total more than $368 million for new capital and $53 million for renovations and repairs.

The potential project lists includes:

Parks and Recreation - $211 million in new capital and $22 million in renovation and repairs: this includes a new community parks southeast, west and southwest, new aquatic facility south and renovations at various parks.

Engineering - $87 million in new capital and $30 million in renovation and repairs; this includes road widening, resurfacing, intersection improvements, bike/pedestrian paths, traffic safety improvements and bridges.

Fire - $30 million in new capital, including emergency alerting system, a hazardous materials response vehicle and public safety training center.

Library - $ 21 million in new capital, including a new southwest library, new northwest library and a site development at Matt Park.

Senior Services - $6 million in new capital, which would include a new building at Charles Place and a new center at Matt Community Park.

Water and Sewer - $10 million in new capital for a new water line and fire hydrant service for current residents.

Recycling and Solid Waste - $934,000 in new capital for a new recycling convenience center.

The current countywide sales tax, SPLOST 7, was approved in November 2011. Collections began in 2013 and it will run through June 30, 2019.

The majority of allocations from that tax went to facilities and transportation, including the courthouse and jail projects along with multiple transportation projects.

Prior to that, SPLOST 6, which ran from 2008-2013, helped pay for various transportation projects, the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center, a new ladder truck for the Fire Department, new Fire Stations 3 and 4, the Post Road Library and a variety of park improvements.

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