SPLOST fund­ing will im­pact New­ton’s cities

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH [email protected]­news.com

In ad­di­tion for fund­ing New­ton County projects such as trans­porta­tion and the Yel­low River Trail, the 2017 SPLOST vote Tues­day will also have im­pact on the county’s cities.

In the town of New­born, Mayor Gregg Ell­wanger said SPLOST funds will go to­ward build­ing a lighted bas­ket­ball court and pavil­ion in the park.

Ell­wanger said the project would not only ben­e­fit the town’s youth, but would also be good for adults who still like to get out and shoot some hoops. The mayor said if that the SPLOST fails, the project would neg­a­tively im­pacted.

Ell­wanger said that 35 to 40 per­cent of New­born’s SPLOST funds will go to­ward trans­porta­tion projects like side­walk ex­pan­sion, and that those funds are el­i­gi­ble for match­ing funds from the state. Ell­wanger also said funds from the 2011 SPLOST al­lowed the town to ren­o­vate the Historic New­born School­house. Money from the 2017 vote will al­low the town to com­plete the project, ac­cord­ing to the mayor.

Ac­cord­ing to Por­terdale City Man­ager Bob Thom­son, money from the SPLOST will go to­ward the city’s mu­nic­i­pal build­ing. Thom­son said the build­ing will make op­er­a­tions more ef­fi­cient for cit­i­zens and be more com­pat­i­ble with the down­town area.

He also said SPLOST funds will also be used for im­prove­ments such as light­ing and a sound sys­tem, as well as a cover for the stage at the Porter Memo­rial Gym­na­sium. SPLOST money will also go to­ward trails and over­looks at Yel­low River Park, as well as benches and swings along the river and an ac­ces­si­ble kayak launch.

Thom­son said the city has a lot of ve­hi­cles with a lot of miles and needs new rolling stock — trucks, bull­doz­ers, trail­ers and back­hoes,

etc. — to main­tain the city’s roads, curbs and gut­ters and parks. SPLOST money will go to­ward that. Thom­son said a loss of SPLOST would im­pact the city’s abil­ity to main­tain that fleet.

City of Cov­ing­ton City Man­ager Leigh Anne Knight said the SPLOST is very im­por­tant to her city. Though the city re­ceives fed­eral and state grants for some projects, SPLOST rev­enues are a huge as­set.

Ac­cord­ing to Knight, SPLOST funds help the city with com­plet- ing trans­porta­tion, san­i­tary ser­vices and pub­lic safety projects to ben­e­fit Cov­ing­ton’s cit­i­zens.

With­out SPLOST, Knight said, a large por­tion of those projects would never come to fruition.

The New­ton County SPLOST vote is Tues­day, March 21. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. un­til 7 p.m.

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