Catoosa County officials have approved putting a new transportation tax on the ballot in the spring, giving residents the opportunity to vote on the proposed 1-percent tax.
The Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is a way for the county to bring in a projected $60 million in revenue over the next five years to help pay for transportation work on roads and bridges.
The approval came Tuesday night, Dec. 18, during a Board of Commissioners meeting. The referendum vote will be on a special election ballot on March 19.
Over the past couple of months, commissioners have met with officials from the cities of Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe and ultimately hashed out a 70/20/10 split of the projected funds.
That breakdown would equate to $42 million for Catoosa County, $12 million for Fort Oglethorpe, and $6 million for Ringgold.
All three governments met for a joint town hall meeting Nov. 29, but very few residents showed up to ask questions about the matter. During the “appearances” portion of Tuesday night’s (Dec. 18) meeting however, three residents spoke up against the proposed tax. Resident Roger Nelson argued that the tax adds price to food rather than the fuel that is actually used for transportation, and that the tax could be a burden for those on fixed incomes.
“It’s absolutely not a transportation user tax because no tax is going to be collected on gasoline or fuel, so it’s not a user tax,” Nelson opined. “It absolutely is an increase on the food tax. This increase will be the classic, regressive tax that hits our senior citizens, low-income, and fixed-income residents the hardest.”
Resident Cherise Miller said her biggest issue is the cost involved with holding a special election for one item.
Catoosa County’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday night, Dec. 18, setting up a transportation tax vote for March 19. Pictured: Commissioner Jim Cutler (left) and Chairman Steven Henry.