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What’s the deal with SPLOST?

CORDELE — Early Voting is currently underway for candidates in the three available seats on the Cordele City Commission, however, a fourth vote that has been overlooked might be the most important one.

The Special Local Optional Sales Tax, also known as SPLOST, is on the ballot for both Wilcox and Crisp County this election.

So what exactly is this sales tax and why is it important?

SPLOST is a one percent tax tagged on to items and goods sold in that particular area. “So wait, why do I have to pay more money for things?”

Well, actually in areas such as Cordele, which attracts people from neighboring counties like Turner, Wilcox, Dooly and Worth County, they too are affected by the local tax. With the money that is collected from the tax, projects that normally would have to be funded by the local municipality or county and its residents aren’t being as heavily funded.

In the past decade there has been a projected $35 million for projects to be funded through SPLOST. In the 2005 SPLOST cycle, a total of 10 projects were complete and totalled more than $8.7 million. There are still four projects, including the $10.5 million Courts/Judicial projects that according to a Crisp County Board of Commissioners 2017 Report on projects will be complete by December 31.

The current 2017 proposed project summary for the upcoming SPLOST cycle has a total of $20.1 million being projected as revenue.

Crisp County will have $5.6 million for County wide community project and just a shade over $9 million for county projects. The remaining 27 percent of the funds will be going to Cordele in the amount of $5.1 million and Arabi for $249,000.

Similarly to Crisp County, Wilcox County has a smaller amount of proposed SPLOST funding but a comparable breakdown in funds. A total of $2.5 million is expected to be generated, with the lionshare of the funds, $1.9 million going to the County. The remaining $600,000 is set to be divided amongst the four cities of Abbeville, Rochelle, Pineview and Pitts.

For Wilcox County, the only thing that people will be going to the polls to vote for is the SPLOST resolution, something they have to decide if the extra percent is worthwhile.

In talking with people in Crisp County, there has been some confusion on the voting process. Residents inside the city of Cordele will have the opportunity to vote for two or potentially three things. They will be able to either vote for or against the SPLOST resolution, for the chairman position for Cordele City Commission and their respective ward, if they live in Wards Two or Three.

For those that live outside the city, but still in Crisp County, you will be able to have your say by casting a ballot on Nov. 7 for the SPLOST Resolution.

Vote, don’t vote, but be informed on this issue because pass or not major changes will come of it. As for my opinion on the matter. I can see both sides to the argument, but it sure would be nice to see some new buildings.