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SPLOST IV ready for ballot
by Noreen Cochran
August 21, 2013 12:52 PM | 1747 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo. Henry County Chairman Tommy Smith, center, signs the SPLOST IV intergovernmental agreement at the county administration building July 29 as, from left, Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price, McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland, Hampton Mayor Chris Moore and Stockbridge Mayor Pro Tem Richard Steinberg look on.
Special Photo. Henry County Chairman Tommy Smith, center, signs the SPLOST IV intergovernmental agreement at the county administration building July 29 as, from left, Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price, McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland, Hampton Mayor Chris Moore and Stockbridge Mayor Pro Tem Richard Steinberg look on.
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Henry County and its four cities took a step recently to beef up their police, fire and transportation assets – if voters approve the continuation of a 1-cent sales tax in November.

County and city elected officials signed an intergovernmental agreement July 29 to divide and spend a potential $190 million in special purpose local option sales tax collections.

“By entering into an intergovernmental agreement, Henry County, together with the four cities, is permitted to collect the sales tax for a period of six years, rather than the five-year limit that would be the cap without such an agreement in place,” county spokeswoman Julie Ernst said in a statement.

The officials acknowledged the city councils, oversight committees and staff members for their 14 weeks of work in crunching numbers and negotiating priorities.

“This is probably one the smoothest transitions to the SPLOST I’ve ever witnessed,” said county Chairman Tommy Smith, a 24-year former Hampton mayor.

The county’s portion of 75 percent is slated to yield $142.5 million for its projects.

This includes about $100 million to be split between the five districts.

The balance of $42.5 million will be for county-wide Priority 1 expenditures, which include fire stations, police cars, ambulances, a 911 radio upgrade and a $4 million police station in Commissioner Bruce Holmes’ district.

“I want to thank Commissioner [Reid] Bowman for his leadership on that, being his idea with the city of Stockbridge starting their own police department,” Holmes said during a county meeting July 25. “Thank you to the board for recognizing the need for protection in that particular area, since we’re so close to Clayton and DeKalb counties.”

Priority 2 items include more police stations, replacement fire stations, road resurfacing, land acquisition and sewer line installations, which County Manager Fred Auletta said will be addressed “after Priority 1 items have been funded.”

The immediate challenge, though, is the campaign to pass SPLOST IV, McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland said.

“After this meeting, we’ve got to go out and sell this program. We’ve still got a job ahead of us and I hope we can. We need it badly,” he said.

By the numbers:City SPLOST projects

 Stockbridge, $8.25 million, water department

 McDonough, $4 million, cultural center

 Locust Grove: $2.75 million, police department

 Hampton, $600,000, parks

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