SPLOST question: What can penny sales tax funds be used for?

Saturday, April 26, 2014 5:15 PM
Last updated Monday, April 28, 2014 10:31 AM
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Augusta voters are set to vote on the consolidated government’s latest special purpose local option sales tax May 20. The Augusta Chronicle addresses the 1 percent sales tax collection in a continuing series until election day.

Q: What can penny sales tax funds be used for?

A: Projects eligible for special purpose local option sales tax funds under Georgia code include construction; maintenance of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks and bicycle paths; land acquisition, drainage and utility work. Publicly owned water, sewer, stormwater and drainage “capital outlay” projects – of a long-lived nature – also may be funded. Dollars may fund construction but not maintenance of public facilities, including courthouses, administrative buildings, civic centers, jails, and others.

From there, usage is less clear. When Augusta allocates funds to outside entities – such as $6 million for Paine College’s new James Brown Community and Fine Arts Center or $4.25 million for Symphony Orchestra Augusta to renovate the Miller Theater – a contract ensures the facility will be open to and serve the public, said Tim Schroer, the deputy city finance director. If the entities sell the projects, the city would get most of its money back, Schroer said. Clint Mueller, the legislative director for Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the entity that lobbied for creation of the tax in 1985, said requirements for funds to outside entities are greater. The government needs “joint ownership at the very least.”

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Butterman
3422
Points
Butterman 04/26/14 - 06:36 pm
10
1
Hmmm

So will the city have joint "ownership" of the mills? And what about the $2.5 million going to the arts council? What ownership will the city have in those projects? Just say NO!

Lori Davis
763
Points
Lori Davis 04/26/14 - 06:52 pm
7
1
Another Smoke Screen by Augusta Government

Here is the way SPLOST is written on the May 20, 2014 ballot….Just so everyone knows……..Very deceiving……….VOTE NO……….Augusta-Richmond County
Special Purpose
Local Option Sales and Use Tax
Shall a special 1 percent sales and use tax be
reimposed in the special district of Richmond
County, upon the termination of the special one
percent sales and use tax presently in effect, for
the raising of not more than $198,364,000 for
the following purposes pursuant to an
Intergovernmental Sales Tax Agreement, dated
as of March 7, 2014, among Augusta, Georgia
(“Augusta”), the City of Blythe, Georgia
(“Blythe”), and the City of Hephzibah
(“Hephzibah”): (1)(a) capital outlay projects,
which are estimated to cost $179,964,000, to be
owned or operated or both by Augusta or by
one or more local authorities within such
special district pursuant to intergovernmental
contracts with Augusta (the “Augusta
Projects”): (i) Road, Street, Bridge, and
Drainage Improvements, (ii) Public Safety
Facilities, Equipment, and Vehicles, (iii) Parks
and Recreation Facilities, (iv) Cultural, Library,
and Historic Facilities, (v) Economic
Development Facilities and Land Acquisition,
(vi) Information Technology, (vii) Industrial
Infrastructure Improvements, (viii) Municipal
Building Renovations, (ix) Fleet Administration
and Maintenance Facilities, and (x) Sales Tax
Program and Project Administration; (b) capital
outlay projects, which are estimated to cost
$1,975,000, to be owned or operated or both by
Blythe: (i) Road Improvements, (ii) Water
System Improvements, (iii) Equipment and
Vehicles, (iv) Community Building, Library, and
Park Facilities, and (v) Information Technology;
and (c) capital outlay projects, which are
estimated to cost $8,375,000, to be owned or
operated or both by Hephzibah (the “Hephzibah
Projects”): (i) Recreational Multi-Use Facility, (ii)
Agricultural Center and Arena Project, (iii)
Water System Equipment and Vehicles, (iv)
Public Safety Equipment and Vehicles, (v) Fire
Department Facilities, and (vi) Road and Bike
Lane Projects; and (2) retiring Augusta’s Tax
Anticipation Notes, dated March 7, 2014 (the
“Augusta Notes”), by paying or making
provision for the payment of the principal of
and interest on the Augusta Notes coming due
on October 1, 2014, in the estimated maximum
amount of $8,050,000?
If reimposition of the tax is approved by the
voters, such vote shall also constitute approval
of the issuance of general obligation debt of
Augusta, Georgia in the principal amount of
$22,395,000 for the purposes of (1) any one or
more of the Augusta Projects, (2) the
Recreational Multi-Use Facility included in the
Hephzibah Projects, and (3) retiring the Augusta
Notes.
BACK Card 3 RptPct 10-10 "201-101" FOR PROOF ONLY 03/31/14 15:34:45
S

Lori Davis
763
Points
Lori Davis 04/26/14 - 06:55 pm
9
1
No public hearings!!!

If there had been public hearings, we could have asked a lot of questions. Since there were none, we just have to take the word of Andrew Mackenzie, Deke Copenhaver and Tim Schroer. Scary indeed!!!

story1
791
Points
story1 04/26/14 - 07:43 pm
14
0
Symphony, Arts Council, Imperial, Paine etc.

Take all private groups out and re-do. Why can't these organizations fund raise like Ronald McDonald House? At least Ronald is working to make money instead of standing in the "get your free Splost money" line.

Butterman
3422
Points
Butterman 04/26/14 - 07:54 pm
9
2
I hear a repeated Symphony

Didn't the Symphony get a bunch of money from the last SPLOST for the Miller? I believe they did. Now they want more. This is how this SPLOST con game works. These various groups come back and double and triple dip into these SPLOSTs until the taxpayers have financed almost the entire project. Will the city own The Miller or atleast have joint ownership commensurate with how much SPLOST money has gone into it?

triscuit
2855
Points
triscuit 04/26/14 - 10:06 pm
7
0
What contractor is set to do

What contractor is set to do Miller renovations?

Butterman
3422
Points
Butterman 04/26/14 - 10:22 pm
3
0
Congress

Probably the guy running for Congress who gets nearly all of the SPLOST construction contracts

corgimom
28081
Points
corgimom 04/27/14 - 07:42 am
5
3
What Butterman said, at 7:54.

What Butterman said, at 7:54.

The worst part for me is the Paine College allocation. Taxpayer money is supposed to be used to build a facility at a private university??? REALLY???

But hey, building structures on land that the city doesn't own seems to be the trend in Augusta.

nocnoc
38617
Points
nocnoc 04/27/14 - 08:40 am
6
1
HAS SPLOST BECOME BUSINESS MISTAKE WELFARE?

If you can't guess I am voting NO.

I especially like the quote:
"... the city would get "most" of its money back..."

I see this as "Whats a few $$$ Million $$$ lost or lining a few pockets here or there? "

If it is an investment then shouldn't the Taxpayer be the OWNERS?
Or why shouldn't it be a LOAN charging INTEREST? An when they default WE the TAXPAYERS OWN IT.

The MILLER / IMPERIAL have fail to generate any profit for the last 20+ years and FAILED to meet any financial expectations presented to date, as I understand. Then why should Taxpayers allow more $$$$ after several attempts of this business concept have proven to be non-viable from any standpoint?

STOP !!! Business Welfare

Take out the Non-Taxpayer owned items, focus on fixing what the Taxpayer's OWN and resubmit for a vote in Nov.

Minus the Business Welfare parts.

Gage Creed
15769
Points
Gage Creed 04/27/14 - 10:39 am
3
0
logictech2014? What is your

logictech2014? What is your purpose in tagging random people in every post?

It would make sense if the people you tag had anything to do with the post.

Edit: the mods have removed the bot

Riverman1
79573
Points
Riverman1 04/27/14 - 11:12 am
5
0
It's Vote Buying

The special interests that are getting all this money will campaign hard for a yes vote. We’ve seen it in the past. It’s vote buying. Even the Chronicle parent company has promoted SPLOST when it suited their self-interests. That’s why I’m pessimistic about the no vote prevailing.

Conservative Man
5303
Points
Conservative Man 04/27/14 - 10:32 am
3
0
Its obvious by my avatar…..

…where I stand…

As far as the "illegality" mentioned ..

Remember Lil Andrew Mackenzie gave his opinion that it is indeed legal..

To that I say it's his "opinion"…NOT law!…

..Vote NO on SPLOST VII...

Butterman
3422
Points
Butterman 04/27/14 - 02:05 pm
3
0
Andy Mac's

legal advice is about as good as a contract written on toilet paper, He is the next one that needs to go.

nocnoc
38617
Points
nocnoc 04/27/14 - 03:30 pm
4
0
Thank You Ms. Davis

I agree the SPLOST wording is sure to hinder knowledgeable voting, as currently written on the May 20, 2014 ballot.

It seems it has come down to asking the courts to hire lawyers, to stand next the voting machines and explain the wording to the average person.

Why not use a simpler question:
Do you approve raising or maintaining a higher sales tax equal to 20%+/-). In order to fund:
$###M in County Issues
$##M in hand outs to businesses and other non-Taxpayer owned establishments?

YES or NO

Little Lamb
43915
Points
Little Lamb 04/27/14 - 04:25 pm
0
0
Ballot

I vote for NocNoc's ballot language!

Butterman
3422
Points
Butterman 04/27/14 - 05:07 pm
0
0
NocNoc

Thanks for the avatar link. As you can see, I have been using it. I would encourage all other AC posters who oppose this SPLOST to change their avatar to the "No to SPLOST" one up until the May 20th election.

dsterling9
652
Points
dsterling9 05/01/14 - 10:21 am
0
0
CHANGES

Isn't it typical of government to change the rules to get their way? The original idea behind a SPLOST was good; however, it has been changed to allow 'give-aways' to special interest with little or no supervision of how funds are spent. I will be voting NO on this SPLOST and any future SPLOST presented with items not directly in line with the REAL reason for a SPLOST.

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