BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Several projects need attention throughout Burke County and the City of Waynesboro. Voters, however, must decide on a special tax at the polls in order to fix those problems. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, commonly referred to as SPLOST, could benefit Burke County’s infrastructure for the most part. The biggest thing leaders want voters to know is the projects need to be done. The only question is the source of the revenue.
Infrastructure tops the distribution list of high priority allocations for Burke County’s SPLOST IV budget.
County Administrator Merv Waldrop tells NewsChannel 6 more than $30 million worth of work must be paid for county-wide.
“We’ve got $5 million for road and bridge repair,” he began stating during the interview.
He said paying for the projects can be spread across individual wallets or property owners will eat the costs alone.
“We’ve got a lot of folks who are working at Plant Vogtle that may not live here, but they’re buying gas, they’re buying food here and they’re helping pay the sales tax burden,” Waldrop said of the benefits of SPLOST.
Buke County estimates it will need a bulk of the budget at more than $20 million. The list includes $3 million towards an Emergency Operations and 911 Center, $1 million for fire equipment, $600,000 for EMS equipment and more than $1 million to construct and renovate buildings. The courthouse is one of those buildings needing renovation. It was built in 1857 and is definitely showing signs of aging.
“A lot of our fire equipment was purchased 20-25 years ago. That equipment is at the end of its useful life. It’s time to start replacing those fire trucks,” Waldrop said.
The City of Waynesboro is set to receive $7.5 million from the SPLOST budget, which is the highest of the six cities in Burke catching the windfall. The bulk of those dollars will help infrastructure in the Bird Dog Capital of the World.
NewsChannel 6 also spoke with Waynesboro City Manager Jerry Coalson. He told us the $2 million was budgeted for water capital improvements and sewer capital improvements each. He said $1 million for road and street improvements will go well with the water and sewer work.
“A lot of times we will repair a water/sewer line on a street and then we will need to come back and resurface that street. Since we have it titled like that we can make the full repair; water, sewer and then come back and fix the street when we’re done,” he said.
Some projects require money from both Waynesboro and Burke County, such as the smallest ticket item in the budget: Recreation. There is $300,000 budgeted for that.
Coalson said it is part of a larger project the county is doing.
“Either like an aquatics center or a splash pad or something like that.”
Coalson added that although there are allocations for recreation and building improvements, money will not be spent of the Boys & Girls Club the city is pushing to bring. He said there is still an account at Queensboro Bank for anyone in the community wanting to donate to that project.
There is also money in the budget for another police vehicle, according to Coalson who said previous SPLOST packages did the same thing.
In addition to Waynesboro, Sardis, Midville, Girard, Keysville, and Vidette all have target improvements in the budget.
You can vote on SPLOST IV on Election Day at the polls and it’s a “yes” or “no” question.
To see the ballot for your area, click here.