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Roundtable to decide tax referendum Thursday

CAMILLA, Ga. — The members of a multi-county regional roundtable will decide Thursday whether the voters of Southwest Georgia will have the ability to vote on a proposed 10-year, one-percent sales tax program.

Gerald Goosby of the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission said Monday that the agenda for Thursday’s meeting hasn’t been finalized, but that the roundtable is expected to decide by the end of the meeting whether to call a referendum.

“They’ll receive information on the phases of the proposed projects and then, by the end of the meeting, they’ll vote on whether to move forward,” Goosby said.

While it is likely that the roundtable, which is comprised of county commission chairmen and mayors from throughout Southwest Georgia, will vote to move the matter on forward to the voters, it could vote not to, and a major portion of state funding would be cut.

“It’s the carrot and the stick approach that we’ve talked about before,” Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff “Bodine” Sinyard said during Monday’s county commission meeting. “There’s a distinct benefit to putting it to the voters in terms of funding levels from the state.”

If called by the roundtable Thursday, the election would be put to voters sometime next year. If approved by a majority, a one-percent sales tax would be levied throughout the entire region on all applicable purchases for the next decade.

Revenues from that sales tax would go to fund regional transportation projects. In Dougherty County, the project list includes the widening and extension of Clark Avenue across the Flint River; the extension of Westover Boulevard to Ledo Road; the widening of Old Dawson Road and the widening of Highway 133.