Cov­ing­ton looks at three types of SPLOST projects

The Covington News - - LOCAL - SAN­DRA BRANDS sbrands@gmail.com

At a work ses­sion Mon­day night, the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil and staff talked about the city’s pro­posed 2017 Spe­cial Pur­pose Lo­cal Op­tion Sales Tax (SPLOST) project list.

Ac­cord­ing to City Man­ager Leigh Anne Knight, the city will sub­mit its re­quest to the county at the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers’ work ses­sion next Tues­day. “All of our [projects] are in­fra­struc­ture and cap­i­tal in na­ture. It is things that would di­rectly ben­e­fit the cit­i­zens or would al­low us to bet­ter per­form our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

The staff has com­piled a list of projects, all fall­ing into one of three cat­e­gories: pub­lic safety, trans­porta­tion and sewer sys­tem im­prove­ments.

“We have a list of things that would qual­ify for each of those,” Knight said, adding staff will sub­mit the top pri­or­ity items to the coun­cil for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Some of the pub­lic safety projects would be to up­grade equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties for the 911 Call Cen­ter, Knight said. “There is a whole list of things, depend­ing on how much money we get — equip­ment for the fire depart­ment, ev­i­dence stor­age space for the po­lice depart­ment, train­ing space for the fire and po­lice de­part­ments.”

If ap­proved dur­ing a March 21 elec­tion, the SPLOST col­lected for the five year pe­riod be­gin­ning in 2017 is es­ti­mated at $61.2 mil­lion.

SPLOST monies can only be used for parks, schools, roads and other pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties or cap­i­tal im­prove­ments.

They can­not be used for op­er­at­ing ex­penses or most main­te­nance projects. Vot­ers would need to ap­prove a ref­er­en­dum, al­low­ing the county to col­lect up to two per­cent of each sales dol­lar spent in the county for a five or six year pe­riod. In New­ton County, SPLOST amounts are usu­ally lim­ited to one penny per dol­lar.

From 2005 to 2010, the county col­lected $58,800,000 in SPLOST funds. Cov­ing­ton re­quested and re­ceived $3,693,000 for trans­porta­tion projects, such as re­pair­ing and repaving roads. The 2011 to 2016 SPLOST rev­enues to­taled $57,600,000. The city re­ceived $11,966,620, with $500,000 used for air­port im­prove­ments and the bal­ance for trans­porta­tion projects.

We have a list of things that would qual­ify for each of those.” — Leigh Anne Knight, City Man­ager

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