Dade Co votes on penny on the dollar sales tax - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dade Co votes on penny on the dollar sales tax

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TRENTON, GA (WRCB) - This is the last week for early voting in Georgia. On the Dade County ballot is whether or not to continue the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or "SPLOST," a penny on the dollar sales tax.

County officials are giving voters a look at what the money would pay for and the impact if it does not pass.

For decades, whether you live in Dade County or not, if you shop there, fill up on gas or eat out, you pay a penny per dollar to the "SPLOST" fund. it's up to the voters every five years to decide if it's worth keeping.

"It's the people's choice, but people need to know what they're voting on," Dade County Executive Ted Rumley said.

The tax generates about $200,000 a month, or more than $2 million a year, which adds up to around $13.5 million before the next referendum in 2019.

Dade County Executive Ted Rumley says if passed, the money will pay for things like road projects, sheriff's cruisers, 911 center upgrades, equipment for the fire department, and some extras like updating local sports facilities and installing several tornado shelters throughout the county.

"If you said that five or six years ago, people would've said you're crazy, but we've had tornadoes in our county and people realize what a tornado is now," Rumley said.

If it does not pass, Rumley says only the expenses they're required by state law to cover, like law enforcement and roads, will be safe from the chopping block.

"Some things not required by law are, for instance, ambulance service," he said.

Another one is the library. He says they could also be forced to hike property taxes to make up for the revenue loss.

"One guy said 'well that sounds like a threat,' well it's not. I don't threaten people. I mean it's just what it is. It's money," Rumley said.

SPLOST is on the primary ballot so if it passes, it takes effect as soon as the current SPLOST term ends. If it fails, the county has to wait a full year before its allowed to hold a special election for voters to re-consider.

Early voting lasts through Friday. Election day is May 20th.
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