Walker County voters battle over SPLOST referendum - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Walker County voters battle over SPLOST referendum

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WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

A sales tax battle is brewing in Walker County. Voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide wether or not to continue paying one cent on their purchases in order to fund projects throughout the county.

It's called Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST, and it seems to be sparking more debate among voters than in previous years.   

For nearly three decades, Walker County and all the cities in it have split that SPLOST money to fund government projects. It's a penny on the dollar sales tax. It goes up for a vote every six years. What happens Tuesday will be the deciding factor for the next six years.

A drive or walk through just about anywhere in Walker County makes it clear that there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

That penny on the dollar sales tax adds up. Over the last year it's generated $5,034,706.87

"We're getting city water on this side of the county now which the SPLOST is also paying for that," SPLOST supporter Phillip Cantrell said.

Phillip Cantrell is campaigning to support continuing SPLOST. He lives in the Villanow community, where volunteers run a facility built with SPLOST money four years ago. It's an emergency shelter, recreation center, satellite sheriff's office and fire department in one. They've just added outdoor recreation to it.

"I wanted to be involved to try to keep this so someone else in the county could get the same thing for their area," Cantrell said.
 
The SPLOST money funds projects like government buildings and roads, but not everyone is happy with the projects in the past.

"Road development is something it can be used on and if you've been on any back roads in Chickamauga lately, they're horrible," SPLOST opponent Misty Canterbury said.

Chickamauga resident Misty Canterbury is part of a campaign to put a stop to SPLOST.

"It's not the tax, the tax is a great idea in the right hands, but the funds have been mismanaged for years and people are tired of acting like they don't notice,' Canterbury said.

She says those who run Walker County waste the money on useless projects. SPLOST supporters want voters to keep the tax, and if they're unhappy with leaders, vote them out.

Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell released the following list of proposed projects and how the money will be divided up between the county and the cities.

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