TSPLOST agree­ment

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Cook

Ca­toosa County com­mis­sion­ers and elected of­fi­cials from the cities of Ring­gold and Fort Oglethorpe gath­ered for a town hall meet­ing Thurs­day night, Nov. 29, where they pre­sented an agree­ment for the pro­posed trans­porta­tion sales tax.

Over the past few weeks, dis­cus­sions and meet­ings have taken place to map out how a Trans­porta­tion Spe­cial Pur­pose Lo­cal Op­tion Sales Tax (TSPLOST) would be split be­tween the three gov­ern­ments if ap­proved by vot­ers.

The 1-cent tax, which gen­er­ates rev­enue for road and trans­porta­tion up­grades, will be placed on a ref­er­en­dum and res­i­dents will have the op­por­tu­nity to vote on the mat­ter in March.

“It’s not of­fi­cial yet, but all of us have agreed on a plan, and it will be up to the pub­lic,” Com­mis­sioner Jim Cut­ler said.

Thurs­day’s meet­ing of­fered Q&A op­por­tu­ni­ties for the res­i­dents to eval­u­ate what they would be vot­ing on.

Ca­toosa County Pub­lic Works of­fi­cials, as well as the city man­agers and some City Coun­cil mem­bers from both Ring­gold and Fort Oglethorpe had pre­sen­ta­tion boards set up chron­i­cling each gov­ern­ment’s re­cent projects and ideas for po­ten­tial use of the funds.

“This could re­ally help us fix and main­tain a lot of our roads,” said Jeremy Bryson, Projects In­spec­tor for Ca­toosa County. “It’s tak­ing around $350,000 a mile to fix some of these roads that we’re try­ing to do com­plete fixes on. With the growth and kind of traf­fic we’re get­ting, you can see the be­fore pic­tures; that’s the shape some of these roads are in.”

Bryson’s pre­sen­ta­tion boards in­cluded re­cent projects in var­i­ous stages of the resur­fac­ing process, which gave res­i­dents bet­ter in­sight into what and how much it takes to re­pair roads.

Bryson added that the county has pro­duced three in­for­ma­tional videos that’ll be re­leased to bet­ter in­form the pub­lic.

“Were putting out the videos about how we’re eval­u­at­ing roads and things like that,” Bryson said. “We have over 400 miles that we (the county) have to main­tain. Fort Oglethorpe has about 50 miles, and I think Ring­gold has close to 30.”

If the TSPLOST is ap­proved, of­fi­cials project it will bring in roughly $60 mil­lion over the course of a five-year cy­cle.

Of that rev­enue, the three gov­ern­ments have agreed on a pro­posal for a 70-per­cent cut for Ca­toosa County, and then 20-per­cent and 10-per­cent for Fort Oglethorpe and Ring­gold re­spec­tively.

That break­down would equate to $42 mil­lion for Ca­toosa County, $12 mil­lion for Fort Oglethorpe, and $6 mil­lion for Ring­gold.

The vote on the ref­er­en­dum will take place March 19, and if ap­proved, it would take ef­fect July 1, 2019.

Once im­ple­mented, the funds would be col­lected throughout the county from not only res­i­dents but any­one mak­ing pur­chases in Ca­toosa County.

Of the 159 coun­ties in the state, 81 of those coun­ties cur­rently have a form of TPLOST in place.

“It’s a lot of money that we can do a lot of needed work with,” said Com­mis­sion Chair­man Steven Henry.

Mov­ing for­ward, the cities of Ring­gold and Fort Oglethorpe will both vote on the pro­posed in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment dur­ing their next City Coun­cil meet­ings on Dec. 10. Af­ter that, com­mis­sion­ers with have the op­por­tu­nity to ap­prove their end of the agree­ment dur­ing their Dec. 18 meet­ing.

Thurs­day’s meet­ing was more in­for­mal than a nor­mal pub­lic meet­ing, but of­fered res­i­dents the chance to talk to of­fi­cials about the pro­posal. How­ever, the meet­ing was lightly at­tended, with only a hand­ful of vot­ers present dur­ing the 1.5-hour ses­sion.

/ Adam Cook

Ca­toosa County Projects In­spec­tor Jeremy Bryson stands near a dis­play of re­cently com­pleted projects dur­ing the TSPLOST town hall meet­ing Thurs­day night, Nov. 29.

/ Adam Cook

Thurs­day’s town hall meet­ing in­cluded dis­plays from Ring­gold ( TOP) and Fort Oglethorpe ( BOT­TOM).

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