Augusta voters are set to vote on the consolidated government’s special purpose local option sales tax 7 by a referendum that appears on the May 20 ballot. The Augusta Chronicle addresses the 1 percent sales tax collection in a continuing series until election day.
Q: Which sales tax 7 projects will be paid for first?
A: Because the tax is collected by the penny, larger projects typically must wait months or years for collections, generally about $3 million a month, to reach sufficient amounts to complete them. Collections won’t start until mid-2016 after the current sales tax expires, according to Deputy Finance Director Tim Schroer.
Certain sales tax 7 items will be paid first, however. According to an intergovermental sales tax agreement among Augusta, Hephzibah and Blythe, the government must set aside semiannual interest and principal payments on a $21.7 million general obligation bond that’s part of the May 20 sales tax referendum to finance certain projects upfront.
If approved, the bond proceeds will repay, ahead of the tax collections, an $8 million loan taken out by the city as matching funds sought by Georgia Regents University to proceed with expanding its cancer center, according to a previous Augusta Commission agreement. The remainder of the bond proceeds are intended for a $4.45 million multi-use recreation center in Hephzibah; $4 million in tax assessment and billing software upgrades; and $5.25 million for the Augusta Regional Collaborative’s Mills Campus proposal, which the commission agreed to in March.