ALBANY, Ga. — A group of local elected officials is hosting a series of public forums to provide information about the July 31 Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum.
State Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, and Dougherty County Commissioners John Hayes and Gloria Gaines are hosting three forums on the T-SPLOST referendum beginning Thursday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 901 S. Westover Blvd.
Dukes said that the forums will be an opportunity for the public to learn about the regional initiative.
“This referendum is something that extremely important,” Dukes said. “It’s going to move what people pay in taxes from 7 percent to 8 percent, so they need to know what’s in it. I’d hate for someone to come up after and say, ‘I didn’t really know what we were getting.’”
If a majority of voters in the 14-county Region 10 approve the measure, the tax would go into effect in 2013. If passed, it is expected to generate more than $530 million its 10-year existence. If it fails to generate that targeted amount within that time, the tax expires. If it reaches the target amount to be raised in less than 10 years, it expires early.
Of the total amount that would be raisd, 75 percent would fund a list of regional projects that has been approved both by the Georgia Department of Transportation and a group of elected officials from counties within Region 10 who met to adopt a list of projects.
Dougherty County projects on the list include a new east-west bridge spanning the Flint River at Clark Avenue, a Westover Boulevard extension, the widening of Georgia Highway 133 from Albany to the Brooks County line and a new terminal at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. A complete list of Region 10 projects can be found at albanyherald.com.
The remaining 25 percent would go to each city and county within the region as discretionary spending for local projects. How that 25 percent is divided out will be based on population and the number of road miles within each political jurisdiction.