In the coming weeks you will hear or receive information on continuing Appling’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). If approved by the voters of Appling County, the 2012 SPLOST is projected to bring in about $18 million for various projects over a period of six years.
In Appling County, there are two types of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The first is the countywide SPLOST, which adds one cent to every dollar spent in the community on purchased products. In other words, every time a person spends a dollar buying a product from a retailer in this community one cent is collected and used for city and county SPLOST specific projects. The second is an Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or ESPLOST. The education sales tax also adds a penny to every dollar spent and is used for various school system construction projects and can also be used to purchase buses, textbooks, etc.
On March 15 the voters of Appling County will be voting for SPLOST, not ESPLOST.
Of the projects included in the proposed 2012 SPLOST, there is one area in particular that is vital to our community. Simply put...roads and bridges in the City of Baxley and Appling County.
If you have not already taken notice, the community has a number of streets and roads in the city and county quickly becoming an issue. Have you traveled down Fair Street lately? The City of Baxley does a good job keeping this street patched, but they can only do so much. The cost to resurface this particular street will be astronomical considering the fact that curb and gutter work will probably have to be done on this street if and when it is resurfaced.
An ever-growing issue for the city and county is the fact that both are receiving less funding for road construction or improvement projects from the state. In 2010 the City of Baxley only received enough funding to resurface three tenths of a mile from the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) through its Local Assistance Road Program. Also in 2010, Appling County had to address several issues with bridges throughout the county on a number of roadways. The cost of one bridge that had to be replaced on Fire Tower Road, after the DOT ordered that the bridge be closed due to safety concerns, was nearly $500,000.00. The bridge was replaced using 2006 SPLOST funds. Had these funds not been available, the county would have had to secure funding through another source, such as raising property taxes or shut the roads down indefinitely.
I have believed for a long time that sales tax is the fairest form of taxation. Why? Everybody pays! I encourage you to consider voting in favor of the continuation of the countywide SPLOST on March 15.