Tuesday, February 16, 2016

County worried about sales tax vote

In November, voters will consider a 1 percent sales tax increase in DeKalb to fund county infrastructure projects. MARTA is also proposing a one-half percent sales tax increase. DeKalb is concerned that MARTA’s attempt will cause voters too much heartburn when they cast their ballots in November. The AJC reports:
DeKalb County’s leaders have long supported proposals to expand MARTA eastward along Interstate 20 to Stonecrest Mall.
But the latest $8 billion MARTA measure being discussed by the Georgia General Assembly causes some problems for DeKalb.
Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners recently drafted a letter saying the county “has been placed in a very awkward posture” because a vote on raising MARTA sales taxes could conflict with the county’s infrastructure sales tax proposal. 
The county plans to ask voters to decide in November whether to add 1 cent per dollar to their sales taxes to pay for roads, public safety facilities and other infrastructure through a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).
If a half-cent per dollar proposal to fund MARTA’s growth were also on the ballot on the same day, that initiative could undermine the SPLOST effort, according to the county’s letter.
“Unfortunately, the proposed half-penny competes with our top sales tax priority to advance a 1-cent SPLOST referendum in November 2016 to meet the basic essential needs of our constituency — crumbling roads,” said the Jan. 26 letter, which was addressed to MARTA CEO Keith Parker and MARTA’s board.

If MARTA’s proposal is approved by the General Assembly and by voters, the DeKalb and MARTA proposals together would increase sales tax in DeKalb to 8½ percent.

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