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Columbia County Commission approves SPLOST project list

Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 11:39 AM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 7, 2014 7:22 AM
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Columbia County commissioners approved a final project list for the 2017-2022 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax at their regular meeting Tuesday. The vote places the list on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

Should voters approve it, the five-year SPLOST is expected to raise as much as $144 million for infratructure and building projects throughout the county and in the cities of Harlem and Grovetown.

Some major items included in the first tier of projects to be funded by the SPLOST are $17 million for a county justice center garage and renovation, $7.6 million for a sheriff’s administration building, $3.4 million for a new Harlem library, and $9 million for a new county cultural arts center and museum.

A total of $9.7 million over five years also is allocated toward improvements and additions to the county’s recreation and parks system.

Tuesday’s vote also approved a resolution allowing the county to reimpose the sales tax and authorizing officials to issue general obligation bonds for up to $15 million to allow funding of some projects before tax revenue is collected.

County Administrator Scott Johnson said there were no plans at this time to issue bonds, but the language needed to be included in the resolution to allow for such action, should commissioners decide it is necessary at a later date. Sales tax revenue, not property taxes, will be used to pay back the bonds, should they be issued, he said.

Some projects that might be moved up include the proposed cultural center and a $1 million upgrade for the fire department’s aging radio system.

Johnson also pointed out that the county just had its AAA bond rating reaffirmed by Fitch Ratings Inc.

Fitch cited the county’s strong finacial profile, a stable econonmy and low debt load among its reasons for awarding the AAA rating.

Officials held a series of public meetings in July seeking feedback from county and city residents on the project list, after which a few adjustments were made to the projected SPLOST money allocated to some projects.

The list also includes $30 million in sales tax funds earmarked for a “sole community hospital provider” – money to be made available for use should the state approve one of three area hospitals that have submitted “Certificate of Need” applications to build the county’s first hospital.

In the case the hospital money is not needed, the county has a $30 million list on contingency projects that could be funded instead, that is dedicated to building and improving parks and recreation facilities throughout the county.

In addition to county-wide projects, the SPLOST plan designates about $8.6 million for Grovetown and $2.6 million for Harlem to use on municipal projects. The municipal distributions were approved in July after a series of intergovernment negotiations, officials said.

Comments (18) Add comment
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AFjoe
5338
Points
AFjoe 08/06/14 - 11:25 am
5
2
Vote NO

The tax base for CC is expanding and will continue for the next several years as Cyber Command comes on board. That will give the government more money to spend. We are taxed to the max now.
SP"LOST" is money out of your pocket. Hold the commission's feet to the fire. Let them find money other places to complete their pet projects

jeffg
6
Points
jeffg 08/06/14 - 01:21 pm
4
0
Cc SPLOST List

Why don't you list the projects in the release? These short news notices do not serve the readership with any useful info!

Little Lamb
48865
Points
Little Lamb 08/06/14 - 01:40 pm
4
1
Augusta West

The Columbia County commissioners are following the example set by Richmond County commissioners. They did not seek input from the people by holding town meetings and setting up web site input forms to find out what the people want, then establishing the list.

Instead, the commissioners set the list, then held meetings to inform citizens what the list says.

AFjoe is correct. Vote NO!

AFjoe
5338
Points
AFjoe 08/06/14 - 02:33 pm
3
0
Polosi mentality

To quote a great leader...Nancy Polosi....We need to pass the bill so we can see whats in it.
Closer to home
CCC-give us your money and we will spend it and tell you why.

Connor Threlkeld
957
Points
Connor Threlkeld 08/06/14 - 07:16 pm
6
0
jeffg, thanks for the

jeffg, thanks for the comment. I'll check with our writer to get a copy of the list so we can add it to the story.

Connor Threlkeld
957
Points
Connor Threlkeld 08/06/14 - 07:29 pm
4
0
We just talked to the

We just talked to the reporter, we're going to have that list as soon as possible. He did mention the specific projects for Harlem and Grovetown are not specified in the county document because those towns have not finalized their lists.

geecheeriverman
4465
Points
geecheeriverman 08/07/14 - 03:43 am
6
1
Taj Mahal

More money for the Taj Mahal on Ronald Reagan Drive. Parking garages, and other improvements for the ELITE {judges, Lawyers, and employees}. Most private businesses can not afford parking garages for their employees. I will start now voicing my opinion on this. V O T E N O!!

ColCo
919
Points
ColCo 08/07/14 - 04:31 am
2
1
Little Lamb

Here is the schedule that was published in the Columbia News Times. I believe there was coverage in the Augusta Chronicle and the Metro Spirit as well.

Public hearings on SPLOST project list begin this week
Posted: July 6, 2014 - 12:06am
By Steve Crawford Publisher

2017-2022 SPLOST LISTENING SESSIONS
Monday, July 7, 6 p.m. Patriots Park, 5445 Columbia Road, Grovetown
Thursday, July, 10 6 p.m. Evans Auditorium, 630 Ronald Reagan Dr., Building A, Evans
Tuesday, July 22, 6 p.m. Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Dr., Grovetown
Thursday, July 24, 6 p.m. Marvin United Methodist Family Life Center, 4400 Wheeler Road, Martinez
The City of Grovetown will hold a 17-22 SPLOST public meeting on Tuesday, July 8, 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers
The City of Harlem will hold a 17-22 SPLOST public meeting on Monday, July 28, 5 p.m. at the Public Safety Building

jbartley
616
Points
jbartley 08/07/14 - 06:03 am
5
1
Vote NO

9 MILLION for a cultural center that we don't need, please stop this SPLOST. RICHMOND County was smart enough to stop there's!

jbartley
616
Points
jbartley 08/07/14 - 06:03 am
0
2
Vote NO

9 MILLION for a cultural center that we don't need, please stop this SPLOST. RICHMOND County was smart enough to stop there's!

Little Lamb
48865
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/14 - 06:49 am
3
1
Cram

Sorry, ColCo, but the timeline does not work. Those public meetings that were held in July were not "listening" meetings as advertised. The list was already drawn up. The commissioners already knew the costs of the projects. The projects were discussed in commission committee meetings.

The people had no input. The list is a top-down list. The only ones who "listened" at the meetings were the citizens.

story1
807
Points
story1 08/07/14 - 07:08 am
2
7
Valid Projects

This Splost has more valid projects than the failed RIchmond County Splost list. Columbia County needs these items because they are moving forward.

resident
501
Points
resident 08/07/14 - 07:44 am
2
0
CC Resident Voting NO!!!!!

I for one will be voting no. What I see is mostly pet projects and not things that really need attention. Aging facilities/Radio Systems/emergency equipment should already be in budgets and already planned for. That should not be an excuse to tax me more especially if the tax digest is growing like they say it is. Stop handing out no tax for businesses that make profits. We know good and well these places would still come in if they really want the customer base. Some things such as new subdivisions should be paid for by developer money not taxpayer money. Take those savings and use them for stuff really needing repairs such as bridges and roads. Stop building more parks that need to be maintained, from what I see they are asking for money for repairs on stuff already. They are built now people are saying we need SPLOST to make repairs...unacceptable. Greenway project is yet another high cost item overpaying for the property it runs through, the sustainment costs (again not factored into any budgets). Well enough of my babbly. VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discussionstarter
501
Points
Discussionstarter 08/07/14 - 08:13 am
2
0
Is it true?

That Columbia County is involved in a water park project on Lewiston Road? I hope our tax dollars are not going to this! I agree with 'resident'... we have too many infrastructure projects that need attention! Vote 'NO' to SPLOST.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 08/07/14 - 08:18 am
1
0
SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER

"YET TO BE DETERMINED"
spending SPLOST

Maybe ARC politics have spread to CC?

What CC really needs is MORE LEO's to patrol a needed ARC/CC Border fence.☺

Discussionstarter
501
Points
Discussionstarter 08/07/14 - 08:17 am
3
0
Someone needs to investigate>>>

Someone needs to investigate where Columbia County Stormwater fees are being spent. Believe me... it is not on Reed Creek... for which the SW Utility was originally chartered.

jbartley
616
Points
jbartley 08/07/14 - 09:18 pm
0
0
Vote NO

We can't afford to mow the county right of ways once a month during the growing season. Last year they were mowed twice during the growing season. And we can afford 9 million for the cultural center and 30 for a hospital when the hospitals said they didn't need our money. Vote to waste more money of our hard earned money!!

jbartley
616
Points
jbartley 08/07/14 - 09:18 pm
0
0
Vote NO

We can't afford to mow the county right of ways once a month during the growing season. Last year they were mowed twice during the growing season. And we can afford 9 million for the cultural center and 30 for a hospital when the hospitals said they didn't need our money. Vote to waste more money of our hard earned money!!

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