Columbus, Georgia to vote on $ 400 million sales tax

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Monday October 4 is the last day to register to vote for the Columbus SPLOST election on November 2.

Here’s what you need to know about the plans and the voting process before you head to the polls.

Here’s what SPLOST would fund

SPLOST, if passed, would raise $ 400 million over a period of approximately 10 years from April 1, 2022. SPLOST stands for “Special Local Option Sales Tax”.

  • About $ 200 million for a forensic center. This will be approximately 310,000 square feet of space for superior, state, juvenile, municipal / magistrate, estate and juvenile courts. It includes all court-related spaces for judges and clerks of each court, sheriff, district attorney, public defender, accountability courts and other court-related functions. This price also includes a car park with 500 to 600 spaces.
  • $ 20 million for road resurfacing, installation of traffic lights, widening and resurfacing of roads and streets to include alternative transportation.

  • $ 5 million for a pathways and sidewalks project to expand and / or replace the existing network.

  • $ 20 million for surface water drainage improvements for roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks or multi-use pathways that have been damaged, are causing damage or are subject to localized flooding. The systems would be repaired or replaced.

  • $ 48 million for parks and recreation projects. Items include renovation / replacement of three swimming pools with pools and / or water features. Improvements to Flat Rock Park, Carver Park, Cooper Creek Park, Benning Park, Lakebottom Park, Theo McGee Park and Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex. Mini Splashes installed at South Commons / Civic Center, Carver Park, Liberty District, City Service Center and two other locations to be determined. Improvements to existing parks, including washrooms, pavilions, facilities and other recreational opportunities.

  • $ 5 million to replace the pavilion and bridge at Bull Creek Golf Course as well as renovate the Oxbow Creek Golf Course and replace the bridge.
  • $ 44 million for public safety projects. These include new vehicles and equipment for police, fire, emergency medical and sheriff departments. One fire station will be replaced and three will be restored. The public security building and other public security equipment and vehicles will also be renovated.

  • $ 14 million for general government vehicle and equipment projects. This includes upgrading vehicles and equipment such as tractors, trailers, dump trucks, asphalt trucks, mowers, bucket trucks, service vehicles, vans and other vehicles and equipment

  • $ 5 million to purchase or upgrade technology, including personal computers, servers, software, and other technology upgrades.

  • $ 5 million to improve the parking lot at the Columbus Ironworks Convention and Trade Center, offering approximately 500 spaces.

  • $ 5 million for roof replacement, audio system replacement, LED display system, video dashboard and other upgrades at Columbus Civic Center
  • $ 9 million for economic development. The projects include the acquisition, site preparation and necessary infrastructure for the Muscogee Technology Park and other locations for new and expanding industries to provide jobs in the Columbus area.

What does this mean to me?

The current Columbus sales tax rate is 8%. If approved, the SPLOST would start on April 1 and the sales tax rate would be 9% for 9 months. The regional sales tax on local special-purpose transportation options (TSPLOST) expires in December 2022. The rate would remain at 9% if Columbus voters renewed the TSPLOST.

The 9% rate would be one of the highest in Georgia, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said.

What do I need to know about voting?

The November 2 election will be the first city-wide election since the adoption of Georgia’s new election integrity law.

Early voting will begin at the City Service Center on Macon Road from October 12 to 29. A ballot collection box will be located inside the municipal service center and will only be open during early voting hours.

The early voting hours are:

  • Oct 12-15: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct 16: 9 am-5pm
  • Oct 18-22: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • 23-24 Oct: 9 am-5pm
  • Oct 25-29: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

If you are voting by mail by mail, you will need your driver’s license number, state identification number, or, if you do not have them, a copy of an acceptable piece of identification for you. request and return your ballot. You can find a request to vote online on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. The last day to request a postal ballot is October 22.

“Sending out the mail-in ballots begins with an advance vote,” said Nancy Boren, Muscogee County Election Officer. “The first day a ballot can be mailed is October 11 and advance voting begins October 12. Voters should not panic if they have requested a mail ballot and do not have it. not received.”

This story was originally published 1 October 2021 14:19.

Nick Wooten is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for the South McClatchy region. He is based in Columbus, GA at the Ledger-Enquirer, but his work also appears in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Sun Herald in Biloxi. Prior to joining McClatchy, he worked for The (Shreveport La.) Times covering city government and investigations. He graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.


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