Special to the Herald
SPRINGFIELD -- During its regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 19, the Effingham County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution requesting the calling of an election to impose a one percent sales tax for transportation purposes – Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST).
The TSPLOST question will be included in the ballot for the Nov. 7 municipal races in Guyton, Rincon and Springfield. Residents who live in unincorporated areas of Effingham County will have only the TSPLOST question on their ballots asking for a “yes” or “no” vote.
“This is a request to renew the current TSPLOST,” said Wesley Corbitt, board chairman. “It is not an additional (tax).”
Effingham County voters approved a TSPLOST in 2020 that is being used to fund $45 million worth of projects. See related map at www.bit.ly/3sZyiKR. That measure was supported by nearly 60% of Effingham County voters.
If voters approve to continue with TSPLOST, it won’t take effect until the current one lapses. County Manager Tim Callanan said that he expects that to occur next June.
The 2023 TSPLOST proposal (see related map on the county website at www.effinghamcounty.org) says:
“Shall a special one percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district of Effingham County for a period of time of five years and for the raising of an estimated amount of $120,000,000.00 (One Hundred Twenty Million Dollars) for funding transportation purposes for Effingham County, the City of Guyton, the City of Rincon, and the City of Springfield? If imposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of Effingham County in the principal amount of $60,000,000.00 (Sixty Million Dollars) for the above purposes.”
Last month, the board of commissioners and city councils in Guyton, Rincon and Springfield entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement about the collection and distribution of funds for the 2023 TSPLOST.
One hundred percent of the net proceeds would be used to expand and improve roads, drainage and pedestrian infrastructure. Distribution would be based on population according to the most recent decennial census.
The county would disburse the proceeds in the following percentages:
· City of Guyton – 3.53 percent
· City of Rincon – 16.88 percent
· City of Springfield – 4.18 percent
· Effingham County – 75.41 percent
According to the district website, without TSPLOST, funding for transportation projects would fall solely on Effingham County property owners. Rincon does not have a property tax, so without TSPLOST, the city doesn’t have a direct funding source for road projects.
Additionally, TSPLOST is a sales tax that everyone – even tourists and shoppers from neighboring counties – pays.
Each government entity in the county recently approved a list of 2023 TSPLOST projects based on engineering studies of current and future needs.
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 10 for the Nov. 7 election.
Early voting will be conducted at the Effingham County Board of Elections and Registration Office at 284 GA. Hwy 119 South, Springfield. Dates and times are Oct. 16-21, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Oct. 23-28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday voting is available only on Oct. 21 and Oct. 28.
The wording of the referendum and the list of proposed transportation projects in Effingham County and the three municipalities may be seen on the county’s website at: www.bit.ly/3EOyYWd.