Franklin BOC to Meet with Municipal Governments to Hammer Out T-SPLOST Referendum

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners has voted to pass a one-cent sales tax to help fund the improvement of County roads in 2020 and beyond.

On Monday, the Board voted unanimously to allow County Manager Beth Thomas to come up with a referendum to put on the ballot in May.

At their recent work session, Thomas told the Board the County will be receiving $617,000 in Local Maintenance Improvement Grant monies from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

With a County 30% match from SPLOST funds, that will come to just over $800,000 in 2020 for road repair and resurfacing, which Thomas said is not enough to fix more than three roads.

“We started out with the needs in the millions of dollars and we had to pare it down to $800,000,” she explained. “The list in front of you is only for three roads and about four miles of roadway. As you will see, about 50% of the total projec cost is in the deep base patching. We have to correct the road before we can resurface it.”

Thomas then suggested the Board consider adding a 1% transportation sales tax.  However, she said it must be put before the voters and all municipalities must agree.

“Other counties in the State have gone for a single-county transportation funding – a 1% sales tax added to what’s already there that is specific to transportation funding. In order for us as a County to do that, we would need to go before the voters. There are certain steps that we have to follow and one of the first things we have to do is to reach an agreement with the municipalities,” she said.

Thomas said she has set up a meeting with the municipalities for Monday, November 11 to look at developing an intergovernmental agreement as to how the revenue tax revenue would be divided.

That agreement, she said, will have to be nailed down by the end of the year in order for a referendum to go on the ballot in 2020.

County Commission Chair Thomas Bridges recalled how, in 2015, Franklin County turned down the opportunity to participate in the T-SPLOST because not all of the sales tax revenue collected in Franklin County would not come back here.

He said however, the law has changed since then.

“Thanks to Sen. John Wilkinson and some of the other Legislators, now we have the option. If the voters approve it, every penny stays in Franklin County to fix the roads, but the people will have to approve it on a ballot that we hope to put out next spring,” Thomas said.