The DeKalb Board of Commissioners and CEO Mike Thurmond discussed a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. From left: Greg Adams, Nancy Jester, Jeff Rader, Mereda Davis Johnson, Steve Bradshaw, Thurmond, Kathie Gannon and Larry Johnson. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM
Photo: MARK NIESSE
Photo: MARK NIESSE

Road repaving tops DeKalb sales tax project list

The DeKalb County Commission is preparing to vote on a list of projects that would be funded by a proposed sales tax increase, including the repaving of 318 miles of pothole-filled roads, the renovation of run-down fire stations and other infrastructure repairs.

Commissioners are reviewing the construction project list presented by DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond on Thursday, and a vote could come as soon as Tuesday.

If approved, the sales tax increase from 7 percent to 8 percent would be put on the ballot Nov. 7. The special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) would raise about $100 million annually over the next six years for infrastructure across the county.

Project list

Repaving the county’s most neglected roads is the highest priority on the project list, accounting for 40 percent of the county’s spending from the sales tax.

The list also calls for repairing sidewalks, bridges, fire stations, parks, athletic fields and libraries. In addition, the sales tax would fund trails, police cars and the design phase for public safety training facility.

In all, transportation accounts for 61 percent of SPLOST spending, followed by 22 percent for public safety, 15 percent for parks and infrastructure repairs, and 1.5 percent for administrative costs.

Early action

The DeKalb Commission already took an initial vote on the sales tax Thursday.

Commissioners voted to extend the duration of the sales tax from five years to six years if every city council in the county also agrees to do so. In addition, the board approved distributing sales tax revenue to cities and unincorporated areas proportionately based on 2016 population estimates.

The sales tax would raise nearly $637 million over the next six years — $388 million distributed to the county government and $249 million to city governments.

The sixth year

City and county officials reached a tentative deal last week in which the sales tax would last for six years and mayors would agree to ask the Georgia General Assembly to lift a restriction on how proceeds would be spent in its final year. Under a state law passed earlier this year, DeKalb’s SPLOST can fund only transportation, public safety and some ongoing maintenance.

Thurmond proposed using the sixth year of funding primarily to repair or replace the county’s old Bobby Burgess Building on Memorial Drive at a cost of $27.3 million, and to expand the courthouse complex in Decatur for $17.5 million.

To view the full proposed DeKalb SPLOST project list, visit http://on-ajc.com/2juFTNA.

Exclusive to subscribers: Read more about the DeKalb Commission’s vote on myAJC.com.

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The AJC's Mark Niesse keeps you updated on the latest happenings in DeKalb County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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