Columbus Mayor explains importance of SPLOST vote

Community News

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The November 2nd special election is approaching quickly and Mayor Skip Henderson broke down the importance of getting the community out to vote on the proposed SPLOST plan.

Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax–or SPLOST–is a one percent sales tax increase that raises funds to be used for specific improvement projects within the community. The proposed plan that is being voted on would collect 400 million dollars that would go toward specific projects around Columbus.

The funds would be used for numerous projects like economic development plans for the Civic Center, Government Center, Trade center and Judicial building. The funding will also be used for things like parks and recreation as well as public safety.

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said even though SPLOST can only be used for specific projects it provides the opportunity to collect funding from the outlying counties that use and visit Columbus frequently.

“It gives us the opportunity to collect 30-35% from the outlying counties that all use Columbus for shopping, dining and use the roads and we’ve got 20 something million going for repaving roads,” said Henderson. “So I think it’s important that people get out and vote because it gives them a say. This isn’t the government imposing a tax, this is the people of this community saying we’ve got a lot of momentum and we would rather pay for 65 to 70 percent of this momentum instead of 100% through other taxes.”

If passed, Columbus would increase the sales tax rate from 8% to 9% for a nine month period beginning in April of 2022.

Henderson said a lot of the upward momentum and development Columbus has seen in the last 25 years can be traced back to SPLOST funding.

“It was the ’93 SPLOST that gave us the Riverwalk, the combined sewer overflow. It gave us the ball fields and a lot of development that took place and then the following one gave us the Civic Center and the Public Safety building and the library,” said Henderson. “So everything that has happened in the Uptown area and has spread up into other parts of the community you can trace back to this community having the foresight to vote themselves a SPLOST.”

Early voting ends Oct. 29, and election day is Nov. 2, in-person voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 22.

According to the July SPLOST 2021 presentation found of the collection period for this $400 million dollar SPLOST is estimated to continue over a 10 year period, from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2031.

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