Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

August 16, 2011

Wilcox decide how to divide SPLOST

Cordele — Wilcox County Commissioners and representatives from three of the county’s four cities decided in a called meeting Thursday how funds from an upcoming SPLOST will be divided.

Commissioners who presented a list of projects totaling more than $2.1 million will receive 80% of the special purpose local option sales tax collected between April of 2012 and April of 2018, provided voters approve a referendum that will appear on the November, 2011 ballot.

The remaining 20% will be divided among the cities according to the following formula: both Abbeville and Rochelle will receive 7% of the taxes that are collected; 4% will go to Pitts and the remaining 2% to Pineview.

Representatives of Abbeville (Mayor Gene Tomberlin); Rochelle (Mayor James Rhodes) and Pitts (City Clerk Wilton King) all agreed to sign an inter-governmental agreement to that effect. No one was at the meeting from Pineview, but Commission Vice Chairman David Brown said he had talked to Mayor Hollan Wilson, and he thought the plan would be acceptable to that community.

It seems that Pineview received considerably more than Pitts in the current SPLOST and was able to complete a community center with the funds. Pitts did not have a major project planned for the previous sales tax issue. This time, however, King said Pitts officials want to purchase land adjacent to the present fire department and add a bay to house a firetruck and provide storage space for records from the clerk’s office.

If Pitts has any money left over from that project, city governors also want to purchase land for a park and develop a walking track, gazebo, children’s playground, etc. and complete some road, street and bridge improvements.

With the money the county seat of Abbeville receives, it plans to restore its historic former City Hall building on Depot St. and turn it into a community center. Tomberlin said this building is one of the last buildings from the old college that once was in Abbeville. “We had some money in the current SPLOST to stabilize the building,” he said, “and now we want to restore it to its former beauty.”

That community also wants to finish some work in the community gym and improve roads and sidewalks.

Rhodes says Rochelle officials plan to improve streets, roads, bridges and its water system with the funds they receive.

At the top of the county’s list of projects is a new roof and some HVAC improvements at the historic county Courthouse which commissioners estimate will cost close to $600,000.

With the additional funds, they will make improvements at the jail, EMS headquarters, the old health department, the FSA and 4-H building, and the recreation department. They also plan to buy some vehicles (rolling stock) and make some road and bridge improvements.

According to the current collections, the county anticipates that a total of $2,740,000 will be collected during the six years that the new SPLOST will be in effect. Assuming that amount is generated, the county government’s share will be $2,192,000. Rochelle and Abbeville each will receive $191,800 for their projects; $109,600 will go to Pitts and $54,800 to Pineview.

If the new tax is approved by voters in November, retail businesses throughout the county will continue to collect the one percent sales tax, send it to the state Department of Revenue, and monies will be dispersed to the county on a monthly basis.

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