Catoosa County residents vote NO to proposed sales tax increase
Almost 5,000 Catoosa County residents voted an astounding no on the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST), which would have increased sales tax in the county from 7% to 8%.
A total of 4,833 voted no, while 1,399 voted yes for the tax increase.
Over 6,000 Catoosa County residents voted in the Special Election, which is one of the highest turnouts the county has had for quite some time.
READ MORE | Decision 2019 Election Results
Officials say the money from the tax increase would have gone to various transportation projects, like paving roads and fixing bridges.
James Qualls says the reason he voted no to the proposal wasn't because of the sales tax increase.
"They are going out here and changing the whole road. I don't like it,” Qualls said.
Qualls says the blueprint of the Graysville Bridge project would have caused more traffic and property problems than before.
"No, that didn't bother me. It was the fact that they were going to widen my road and mess me up, take my stuff, clear out and tear up my trees and everything else,” Qualls said.
But people who voted yes, like Kurt Swanson, say something has to change about the railroad crossing on Graysville Road.
"I would love to finally move into the 21st Century where we are not affected every time a railroad stops at a crossing,” Swanson said.
Swanson says the railroad has been a problem for quite a while, and he has had several instances where he and his wife have waited at the train crossing for more than an hour. He says the project impacts more than just the people who live near the railroad.
"You've gotta think there are a lot of neighborhoods in Georgia, especially Catoosa County, that need roads paved; they need work done. And it would benefit them in the long run,” Swanson said.
Catoosa County Commission Chairman Steve Henry says he was shocked to see the amount of opposition for this bill.
An overwhelming 78% voted no to the proposal and 22% voted in favor of it.
Henry says there are no plans for another bill like this in the future.