Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Public Input Sought on Proposed SPLOST

The Fayette County Board of Education is exploring the possibility of asking voters to approve a one percent SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) in November to help the school system maintain its high level of education while lowering property taxes.

A public input session will be held at the Fayette County Board of Education (210 Stonewall Avenue, Fayetteville) on August 28 at 7 p.m. Residents wishing to make comments on the proposal will need to sign up that evening prior to the beginning of the session. Each person will be limited to two minutes in order to ensure that everyone who wants to speak has an opportunity to do so. Doors will open at 6 p.m.; the sign-in sheets will be removed promptly at 7 p.m. Written and emailed comments are also welcome.

Austerity cuts over the last several years have resulted in a loss of approximately $21 million in state funding. That, coupled with rising fuel costs and increased prices for basic supplies, has forced the school system to make some tough funding decisions that could have a direct impact on students.

A one percent SPLOST would generate approximately $100-115 million over a five-year period to help fund needs that have been postponed as well as address future needs. Specifically, the SPLOST would fund debt service ($38 million), which will lower property taxes; technology ($35 million); security ($2.5 million); textbook adoption ($2.5 million); facilities five-year plan and warehouse relocation ($17 million); transportation ($10 million) and an aquatic facility ($10 million) for school swim teams and swimming lessons.

It is estimated that the SPLOST would lower property taxes through a reduction of the school system’s bond millage rate ranging between 0.83 mills to 1.59 mills during the time it is in place. This would lower the property tax bill on a $250,000 home between $83 and $159 each year.
The board of education has until August 4 to adopt a resolution for the SPLOST. If a resolution is adopted by the board and approved by voters in November, the new tax will take effect April 1, 2009.

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