McDONOUGH – At recent meetings held by Henry County’s local governments, questions have been raised about how SPLOST funds can be used.
SPLOST, or the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is a 1-percent sales tax levied for the purpose of funding a variety of projects in a local area, such as a county or a city.
According to Georgia law, a variety of projects can be funded using the 1-percent sales tax, including the acquisition of right of way, construction and/or renovation of roads, sidewalks, bridges and bicycle paths.
Much of Henry County’s proposed SPLOST V referendum centers around the construction or improvement of the county’s road system, with funds budgeted for road construction and improvement, as well as intersection improvements throughout the county.
The SPLOST can also be used for various capital projects, such as new police or fire stations.
SPLOST, meanwhile, may not be used to fund the construction of schools. A separate sales tax, known as the Education SPLOST, or E-SPLOST, is available for school districts to fund those projects.
SPLOST funds cannot be used to pay for other county funds, pay off unrelated existing revenue bonds, or pay for operating expenses. However, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, SPLOST proceeds can be used to retire existing general obligation debt. According to the Motley Fool, general obligation bonds are used to finance projects that will not generate revenue for a local government, while revenue bonds are intended to finance projects that will generate a revenue stream once completed.
While SPLOST projects typically last five years, local officials have suggested that SPLOST V will last six years. This is possible due to the fact that Henry County is expected to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with its four cities — McDonough, Stockbridge, Hampton and Locust Grove.
Each of Henry’s four cities has discussed projects to be included in the list at city council meetings and public hearings over the last several months. On June 28, all five governments, the four cities and the county, will meet together to formulate the intergovernmental agreement.
The SPLOST referendum and its projects will be sent in to the Henry County Elections Office for ballot preparation. The referendum will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The ballot question is an “all-or-nothing” proposition. In other words, voters cannot pick and choose which portions of SPLOST to support or oppose. If the SPLOST referendum passes, the funding for every listed project will be approved, but if it fails, that funding will fail.
Should SPLOST V pass, collections are scheduled to begin April 1, 2020.