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Athens-Clarke County currently has several different 1% Sales taxes.
Based on legislation passed in the 2016 General Assembly, the law now allows for an additional sales tax for transportation. This tax will NOT affect any other local sales and use tax. (See O.C.G.A 48-8-269.991 and 48-8-269.997)
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A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is a sales tax used to fund capital outlay projects proposed by the county government and municipal governments. A Transportation SPLOST (TSPLOST) is a sales tax where the outlays are intended for transportation purposes only.
The TSPLOST 2018 program was approved by Athens-Clarke County voters on November 7, 2017. Collection will actually begin on the first day of the calendar quarter following an 80-day period after the vote. Sales tax collection will begin in April 2018 as an additional sales tax on the current sales tax. The new TSPLOST sales tax will be 1%, making Athens-Clarke County's total sales tax 8%.
The max rate allowed for Athens-Clarke County is 1.0%. Since both cities of Winterville and Bogart agreed to participate in the program and an Intergovernmental Agreement was executed by the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County and with both cities, the November 2017 referendum is for a 1% sales tax. If both cities did not agree to participate, then the maximum rate allowed would have been 0.75%.
The area of Athens-Clarke County will generate approximately $109.5 million from April 2018 to March 2023 with a 1% TSPLOST.
The collections for the TSPLOST 2018 program would cease on March 31, 2023. It should be noted out that projects do not have to be completed in the five-year window. The vast majority of projects should be complete, or be in the construction phase, during the five-year period.
(5) “Transportation purposes” means and includes roads, bridges, public transit, rails, airports, buses, seaports, including without limitation road, street, and bridge purposes pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of Code Section 48-8-121(see below), and all accompanying infrastructure and services necessary to provide accessto these transportation facilities, including new general obligation debt and other multiyear obligations issued to finance such purposes. Such purposes shall also include the retirement of previously incurred general obligation debt with respect only to such purposes, but only if an intergovernmental agreement has been entered intounder this article.Code Section 48-8-121(b)(1)If the resolution or ordinance calling for the imposition of the tax specified that the proceeds of the tax are to be used in whole or in part for capital outlay projects consisting of road, street, and bridge purposes, then authorized uses of the tax proceeds shall include:(A) Acquisition of rights of way for roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; (B) Construction of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths;(C) Renovation and improvement of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths, including resurfacing; (D) Relocation of utilities for roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths;(E) Improvement of surface-water drainage from roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths; and(F) Patching, leveling, milling, widening, shoulder preparation, culvert repair, and other repairs necessary for the preservation of roads, streets, bridges, sidewalks, and bicycle paths.(2) Storm-water capital outlay projects and drainage capital outlay projects may be funded pursuant to subparagraph (a)(1)(D) of Code Section 48-8-111 or in conjunction with road, street, and bridge capital outlay projects.
Since the intergovernmental agreement is executed with Bogart and Winterville, thus allowing the maximum 1% tax, then a minimum of 30% of revenue generated must be used on projects consistent with the Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP). The SSTP is a policy document and does not include an exhaustive list of projects. The SSTP outlines a series of statewide priorities and identifies several programs and/or plans which directly support those priorities.
A handful of key projects are identified in various places throughout the document to illustrate how a program or plan may ultimately result in implementation of a specific project. Because the SSTP identifies a broad range of supportive strategies and programs, many projects will be consistent with the SSTP. For example, projects that would be considered consistent include interchange projects, safety projects, and operational improvement projects. [see O.C.G.A 48-8-269.(c)920(D) and 269.995(b)(2)(D)]
(A) A list of the projects and purposes qualifying as transportation purposes proposed to be funded from the tax, including an expenditure of at least 30 percent of the estimated revenue from the tax on projects consistent with the state-wide strategic transportation plan as defined in paragraph (6) of subsection (a) of Code Section 32-2-22;
(B) The estimated or projected dollar amounts allocated for each transportation purpose from proceeds from the tax;
(C) The procedures for distributing proceeds from the tax to qualified municipalities;
(D) A schedule for distributing proceeds from the tax to qualified municipalities which shall include the priority or order in which transportation purposes will be fully or partially funded;
(E) A provision that all transportation purposes included in the agreement shall be funded from proceeds from the tax except as otherwise agreed;
(F) A provision that proceeds from the tax shall be maintained in separate accounts and utilized exclusively for the specified purposes; (G) Record-keeping and audit procedures necessary to carry out the purposes of this part; and
(H) Such other provisions as the county and qualified municipalities choose to address.
(1) The sale or use of any type of fuel used for off-road heavy-duty equipment, off-road farm or agricultural equipment, or locomotives;(2) The sale or use of jet fuel to or by a qualifying airline at a qualifying airport;(3) The sale or use of fuel that is used for propulsion of motor vehicles on the public highways;(4) The sale or use of energy used in the manufacturing or processing of tangible goods primarily for resale;(5) The sale or use of motor fuel as defined under paragraph (9) of Code Section 48-9-2 for public mass transit; or(6) The purchase or lease of any motor vehicle pursuant to Code Section 48-5C-1