Jail, county building improvements through sales tax on Colquitt Co.’s ballot

Both Colquitt County Jail improvements and the Public Works Department building improvements would be done thoroughly with sales tax approval.
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 8:44 PM EDT
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MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - On Nov. 7, voters across Georgia will be making choices on key races and issues. One issue that’s appearing in several counties is SPLOST money – a 1% sales tax for community projects.

Early voting in Colquitt County runs through Friday, Nov. 3, and polls will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. One key issue is the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

“Parks and recreation we use the SPLOST funds to help with capital projects whether it’s new things or ongoing issues,” said Maggie Davidson, Executive Director of Moultrie Colquitt County Parks and Recreation.

Part of the upgrades completed just within the last year have been new floor padding for the pools, shades for the local park, and equipment.

One advantage of using SPLOST funding is less money that local taxpayers would have to pay that may or may not be within the county’s budget.

“If these had to come out of the operating budget, it would be a real burden on the property owners. Because of the SPLOST and TSPLOST, the city has been able to lower taxes for seven years in a row,” said Pete Dillard, Moultrie city manager.

Thomas County Administrator Chas Cannon says his role each election is to hear the needs of the community and propose projects residents can vote on.

“I have to put together and validate to the voters that this is worth them voting on and taking a shot at. So it’s on the county to make sure we are submitting credible projects that make sense that the voters can understand,” said Cannon.

One key issue is SPLOST.

SPLOST funds are renewed every five years and one item on the ballot is the renovation of the county jail.

56% of the city’s SPLOST allotment would go towards public safety projects.

“When we built it was a three different compartments of the jail. We are looking to streamline that and increase efficiency and reduce our manpower requirements by building a single pod that can house all the inmates,” said Cannon.

One other area in need of SPLOST funding is the public works department.

“For the city, we have a service center for our entire public works department that needs a new roof desperately and that will come out of the SPLOST funding,” said Dillard.

Although SPLOST funding is a one percent sales tax, using these funds will help offset property owner’s tax, according to Dillard.

“Anyone that comes through Colquitt County, even visitors or people that come out of town, they will pay part of the sales tax. Some of the tax half it doesn’t even come from local taxpayers, but it helps offset some of the property tax,” said Cannon.

Early voting in Colquitt County runs through Friday, Nov. 3, and polls will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.