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'Minor cost for the greater good': Houston County commissioners hope to renew SPLOST for 2024

Houston County's 2018 SPLOST will end next September and commissioners hope to renew it for another six years to keep growing the county.

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Houston County’s SPLOST has been around for 25 years. The current 2018 1-penny sales tax SPLOST fund amounted to $145 million, and it’s about to expire. 

County Commissioners say they hope it’s renewed to continue growing the county.

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha shows us what the current SPLOST has funded and what folks have to say about it.

“It's not a new tax. It's just a renewal of the existing 1-penny sales tax,” says Houston County Commission Chairman, Dan Purdue. 

Purdue says SPLOST funds "capital projects." That means projects that you can physically see, like work for roads, parks, buildings, or getting more resources.

“It cannot pay salaries, it can’t fund operation and maintenance,” Purdue explains. 

They say they got a lot of work done the past six years. 

“In the current 2018 SPLOST, some of the largest projects-- one of them is the State Courthouse addition and move to Perry,” he says. “Another one, which is underway currently, is the natatorium on Cohen Walker Drive."

With the help of the school board, students and kids will have a place to swim. 

Other projects included several road-repaving or widenings like on Feagin Road, Houston Lake Road, and more. 

All projects that came from suggestions straight from the community. 

“It has allowed us to heavily invest in infrastructure, so if we did not have SPLOST, the fact of the matter is, a lot of these things just wouldn't be happening,” Purdue explains. 

Earl Eaton says he's happy to vote for SPLOST.

“If you want to get what you want, you have to vote,” he says. "I think it's a good thing when it's used for the right purposes -- roads and building projects, and things for children."

Eaton says he'd like to see more focus on parks and recreation center projects for the kids.

“There's not many things of that nature here. Keeps kids busy and out of trouble,” Eaton says. 

Mike Klug says no one likes paying more taxes, but this is a minor cost for the greater good. 

"It's much better to be in a growing community than a shrinking community,” Klug says. "I think it's been the source of a lot of growth in Houston County. It attracts businesses and more people.”

Klug says he has appreciated the work done to the Houston County Health Department and the schools. He agrees with Eaton, he just wants to see more parks for kids to play on. 

“I encourage people to invest in the people around you, so it’s no real harm in the good that comes out of it,” Klug says. 

Purdue says the election to renew SPLOST will be on November 7. 

Commissioners and city mayors will present a list of county projects they'd like to work on with the next round of SPLOST.

They'll be having two public hearings on June 29 and July 10 at the Houston County Annex to hear how you'd like to see the next SPLOST spent.

To see how the county has used SPLOST funds in past years, visit the Houston County commission website.

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