Sumter Voters Approve SPLOST - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter Voters Approve SPLOST

September 18, 2007

Americus - - Six months after a tornado destroyed a hospital and damaged dozens of businesses and hundreds of homes, Sumter County voters decided to give recovery efforts a boost. They voted to continue paying an extra penny sales tax. Much of the revenue will help with tornado recovery.

The sales tax extension will bring in $25 million over the next six years. More than four million of that will go to tornado recovery efforts. People we spoke with say it's necessary.

March 1st is a day no one in Americus will soon forget. A deadly tornado's aftermath makes it hard for them to.

"Were still rebuilding," says Jody Wade, head of the Sumter Disaster Recovery Team.

His volunteers are helping to restore several tornado victims' homes. Wade himself took to the polls Tuesday to vote on a penny sales tax to help fund additional tornado recovery. 

"I voted for it because I wanted to see the infrastructure in Americus and Sumter County bolstered."

More than 87 % of voters agreed with him. They overwhelmingly passed the referendum.

"Of course the hospital is going to need this money over the next few years as they rebuild," says Sumter County Administrator Lynn Taylor.

Three million dollars will go towards the re-construction of Sumter Regional Hospital. That's not all.

"The Reese Park School is the first priority for the city of Americus," she says.

The historical school will get more than a million dollars to house community programs.

For Wade, it's a bill taxpayers should pay with pride. "We as a county need to put back into our community and through a sales tax, everybody gets to participate in that," he says.

The new tax won't be a huge pinch since the county is already paying a penny sales tax. That old one will expire and the new one will essentially replace it, starting in January of 2009. 

More than 1,400 Sumter County voters went to the polls Tuesday. The hospital and the old school will start receiving money in March 2009.

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