HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SLOST) decision is set to appear before the Towns County voters on the May 19 general primary ballot. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced plans for the “conservative figure” of $12 million in anticipated revenue, generated over six years, should the SPLOST referendum pass.
Commissioner Bradshaw told FYN on Feb. 10, that $8 million of the SPLOST revenue will be applied toward the renovation of the Towns County Courthouse. Bradshaw said that he consulted with several architects before deciding on the firm, Clark Patterson Lee, a New York-based company with offices located throughout the southeast. The firm was selected to draft a “concept drawing” to present to the citizens in a series of upcoming Town Hall meetings. Contracting the company into the construction management stage, however, will not take place before the passage of May’s vote. Should the plan progress, Bradshaw said that the construction process itself would be put out for bid. Qualification will be the premier consideration, followed by cost.
Bradshaw is scheduled to meet with the architectural firm on Thursday, Feb. 13, when surveyors visit the courthouse to take measurements and photographs of the aged structure.
“I spoke with all of the judges and elected officials in the courthouse and asked them to put into writing their suggestions,” Bradshaw told FYN, Feb. 10. “All of the suggestions were the same; a holding cell for court prisoners, an additional, smaller courtroom, handicap-accessible restrooms, a family restroom, and a secure hall for the judges to enter and exit the building.”
Additional SPLOST revenue will be divided as follows:
- Roads/Bridges: $600,000
- Towns County Fire & Rescue: $500,000
- Parks/Recreation: $140,000
Funds allocated for the fire department will be used primarily to update emergency vehicles, Bradshaw said, and the amount budgeted for roads and bridges will provide necessary equipment for the road department. Upgrades and repairs, such as fencing material, may be needed for local parks and recreation.
The cities of Hiawassee and Young Harris, who have opted to benefit from the special-purpose tax, will each receive an estimated one million, eighty thousand dollars in revenue over the six-year course if the voters pass the May 19 referendum.
SPLOST is an optional one-percent sales tax levied by a county to fund the construction of parks, schools, roads, and other public facilities.
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