County, mayors agree on six-year SPLOST

There seems to be consensus among Cobb County commissioners and the mayors in the county’s six cities on putting a six-year Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum in front of voters Nov. 4.

Cobb Chairman Tim Lee called a special meeting between the commission and mayors Friday morning. No official vote was taken or needed, but Lee asked the mayors if anyone objected to the six-year sales tax referendum and no one objected. The tax would raise $750 million.

“All assumptions are that this SPLOST would be six years,” Lee said. “Unless I hear otherwise, I’ll continue with that assumption.”

The county presented the mayors with a $55 million list of projects that it claims are of county-wide benefit, and therefore would come off the top of the SPLOST funding before the cities receive a 26-percent share of the tax revenue.

Here’s how the projected annual funding for the cities would break down:

  • Marietta, $9.4 million
  • Smyrna, $8.5 million
  • Kennesaw, $5.1 million
  • Acworth, $3.4 million
  • Powder Springs, $2.3 million
  • Austell, $1 million

Lee said holding the referendum this fall would make good on the county’s promise to hold SPLOST votes during general elections. But he then added that a second vote on the measure could be held in 2015, if it were to fail on ballots this year.

“We all have an obligation to fund certain services for the community,” Lee said. “It comes down to the next question: what is the service level and how do you pay for it?.In my mind, I consider SPLOST a revenue source for funding the services we provide.”

The county must decide by July 22 which projects to include on the list of projects to place in front of voters. The county’s project list amounts to $1.2 billion, and commissioners will be working over the next month to whittle that down.