At their regular meeting held on August 21, 2018, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to proceed with a referendum regarding a Single-County Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST). The purpose of this sales tax is to create a dedicated revenue stream to fund necessary transportation projects throughout Coweta County (including projects in the municipalities).
As the community continues to grow, the demands on our transportation infrastructure are also increasing rapidly. Since 2006, the County and the municipalities have maintained a joint, long-range, Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP). Following public open house events and online public input, the most recent CTP was drafted and adopted in 2014. While Federal and State dollars and local SPLOST revenues have been used to complete some of the CTP projects, a dedicated revenue stream (TSPLOST) is needed to ensure completion of vital transportation projects.
Excluding approximately $1.6 million dollars of motor fuel tax revenue distributed by the State annually, the County relies entirely on local SPLOST revenues to fund transportation projects, including roadway maintenance. Since 2009, as a measure to balance the budget, the County has not dedicated any property tax revenues for roadway maintenance as part of the annual operating budget.
As defined by State law, TSPLOST is a special sales tax to be used exclusively for transportation purposes. If approved, TSPLOST would be levied at 1%, increasing the local sales tax rate from 7% to 8%, depending on the goods or services being purchased. Unlike previous regional TSPLOST efforts, if approved, every dollar raised in Coweta would be spent in Coweta under the proposed Single-County TSPLOST.
Potential alternatives to TSPLOST include a reduction of services by reprioritizing annual operating expenditures, an increase of the millage rate to levy additional property taxes, or a delay of the proposed transportation projects until adequate funding is made available through other sources. The anticipated collections estimate of $25 million per year to be received from TSPLOST is equal to an increase in the millage rate of approximately 5 mills or a reduction of 30% in the operating budget.
The County’s Joint Transportation Coordinating Committee (JTCC), comprised of elected officials representing all municipalities throughout the county, a citizen, and a business-industry leader, was tasked with developing a list of proposed TSPLOST projects. This task was accomplished through project solicitations from the municipalities and through extensive public engagement fulfilled by the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce.
Integral to the Chamber's public input sessions was the gathering of feedback from residents regarding areas where they suffer traffic woes and suggestions that would improve safety and quality of life. In addition to the projects submitted by the municipalities, the extensive feedback obtained through the public input phase was provided to the County Administrator as well as the JTCC. As a result of this combined work, a final roster of sixty-two (62) anticipated projects to be addressed by the prospective TSPLOST tax was developed and included in an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).
Undergoing an open and transparent process, officials diligently considered transportation priorities which reflect the values of the community, as well as those which will yield tangible results in a five-year period, ensuring an immediate return on taxpayer investment.
If passed, TSPLOST collections will begin in April of 2020 and run for five years or until the collection reaches the projected collections estimate of $125,000,000.
Do you still have questions regarding this referendum?
See the FAQ’s for more information.
Also, you may contact us for any questions.
Or, download documents for more information on TSPLOST:
- Press Release
- Project List
- Why not Impact Fees instead?
- See sales tax rates from around the state - many counties are already using TSPLOST dollars to improve their infrastructure
- Intergovernmental Agreement