A penny by itself carries very little weight and very little value. But stacked together, time and time and time again, it can do a lot of things.
If you didn’t get a chance to take part in the dedication of the newly-renovated historic Effingham Courthouse, you missed seeing just what a penny — and many pennies just like it — can do.
The team of J.T. Turner Construction, Greenline Architecture and Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung deserve every accolade and commendation for their work in not only restoring the century-old edifice but also for bringing it to a modern-day use. The tax assessors, tax commissioner, county GIS and district attorney are already ensconced in their new home.
The modern touches of data and phone lines — not to mention new electrical wiring, plumbing and elevators — are surrounded by the homage to the building’s origin, with wood floors, the original doors and restored windows and window casings.
The overall cost of the renovation and restoration was just under $3.5 million, all paid for fully by special purpose local option sales tax proceeds.
While SPLOST revenues can’t go toward maintenance and operations of the buildings the extra penny sales tax allows to be built, the forward-looking vision of the historic Courthouse has given it energy and water reduction capabilities that will cut water usage by 30 percent and electricity usage by 34 percent. That means it won’t cost as much, by nearly one-third, to operate.
That’s just an example of what the one-cent tax can do. It’s also gone to build roads and new parks, and for the board of education, it buys textbooks, computers, new buses and improvements and additions to the schools themselves.
There are many projects left ahead for the pennies to work on — from more new roads to a new sheriff’s administrative complex and jail. The current jail and sheriff’s office has been plagued with problems since the doors opened and a new one is needed badly.
The support of the community in the votes earlier this month to renew the SPLOST and E-SPLOST could go a long way, a penny at a time, for better things in our community.