Valdosta, Lowndes County voters pass SPLOST -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta, Lowndes County voters pass SPLOST

Valdosta Mayor John Gayle Valdosta Mayor John Gayle

Election night is now over, and so is the anticipation for Valdosta's mayor and city manager regarding the SPLOST initiative.

Voters in the city of Valdosta and Lowndes County overwhelmingly passed SPLOST in last night's election. 69 percent voted to continue the initiative, which has been in place since 1985.

"Well, of course this is a great day for Valdosta with SPLOST passing," said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle. "It gives us opportunity to move ahead like we've done the last 25 years, using this money to make Valdosta a better place to live and a better place to work."

But despite the overwhelming number of votes in favor of SPLOST, nearly one third of the voters said they wanted to end the program.

"Well, I'd like to look at it as 70% of the voters were for it," Mayor Gayle said. "I don't know. We tried to get the message out to those 30% and for some reason they didn't feel comfortable with us spending their money I guess."

SPLOST is expected to bring the city $80 million over the next six years, and both the mayor and city manager agree the first priority is building a new sewage treatment plant.

City manager Larry Hanson emphasized why it's so important that a new plant be built. "We continue to have problems with the plant. it's been damaged, we can't make major repairs to it because it's in a flood zone so we have no choice but to move it."

Hanson also cited the leakage of raw sewage into nearby rivers and streams during the flood of 2009 as another reason for building a new plant.

Gayle said the city has a lot of great improvement projects planned, but the money doesn't come in all at once so the city will have to prioritize the projects. at the end of the day though, he said he's just happy to get working on the projects again.

"The good thing is, we can start working again and we don't have to campaign anymore."


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