Newton County BOC approves 2017 SPLOST list
Projects include Emergency-911 center, animal control shelter, senior services, transportation
The list of projects to be funded through a possible Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) has been finalized.
Among the items approved on the 2017 SPLOST list by the Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) Tuesday include more than $18 million for transportation, just under $4 million for the Emergen- cy-911 Center, just under $2 million for expansion of the Senior Service Center and a little more than $1 million for an animal control shelter.
The list was put together by the 24-person citizen’s SPLOST committee chosen by the district commissioners and county chair. The committee, chaired by Baxter Bouchillon, was given an initial list that included all the proposed
project requests with expenses totaling $91,687,228. The committee strategically worked to narrow that down to a project list with expenses totaling $51,010,560.
Among the biggest expenditures completely cut from the list were an aquatic center ($8 million), R.L. Cousins renovations ($2,500,000), additions to Nelson Heights Community Center ($1,550,000) and a sheriff department annex ($500,000).
The county estimated it will receive $900,000 a month for a period of 72 months for a total SPLOST return of $64,800,000. After negotiations with mayors from each of Newton County’s five municipalities, it was determined Newton County would receive 78.72 percent of that number for a total of $51,010,560.
The list, which was approved 4-1 by the BOC, with District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson vot- ing against, is:
Out of the county’s allotted total of $51,010,560, $8,310,560 will go toward facilities, $4.1 million toward parks and recreation, $4.9 million to fleet replacement and equipment, $18.5 million to transportation, $10.5 million to debt service/retirement, $3.7 million to Emergency-911 communications and $1 million to Economic Development/Industrial development authority.
The BOC will vote to put the 2017 SPLOST on the ballot for March 14 at its Dec. 6 meeting. If voters approve of the SPLOST funds will come in from the additional sales tax (the additional sales tax has been in Newton County since the 2005 SPLOST was approved). Those funds, once generated throughout the five-year period will go to pay for the projects placed on the recently approved list.
The BOC also approved Tuesday, the future board’s ability to take out bonds for SPLOST projects up to $15 million. The ability to bond would enable projects to be done without having to wait until all funds are brought in through tax collection. Placing the SPLOST bond question on the ballot in March was unanimously approved by the BOC.