Muscogee County voters pass 1 percent sales tax that will fund demolishing Government Center, building new judicial building

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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Muscogee County voters approved a one-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax on Tuesday, giving the city a $400 million revenue stream over the next 10 years. 

It was the only issue on the ballot and drew a small turnout. The unofficial vote total was 5,798 in favor and 4,933 against.

It was decided by less than 11,000 of the city’s 130,000 registered voters.

The tax takes effect on April 1, 2022. That will drive the city’s sales tax to 9 percent on the dollar, the highest rate in the state. A 1 percent regional transportation sales tax is slated to expire at the end of the year. If that tax is not renewed, it will drop the Columbus sales tax back to 8 percent. 

The city put out a list of projects that would be completed with the money. At the top of that list was $200 million to tear down the Government Center and replace it with a new judicial building on the same site. 

There is $48 million for Parks and Recreation that includes pool upgrades and improvements to Flat Rock Park and Cooper Creek Park. 

There is $44 million earmarked for public safety, much of that for vehicles such as new cars and fire trucks. 

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