The Dawson County Board of Commissioners met Friday morning, June 26, along with the Dawsonville City Council to discuss the joint use of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Dollars.
Both parties- from the county and the city- brought their proposed use of the funds. The list from the county included upgrades to the IT department, fire department equipment, remodeling several current fire stations, a new emergency 9-1-1 center, a new elections building, a new roof on the law enforcement center, county roads projects, existing road improvement, improvements to several county parks for playground and trail upgrades and more. Their list totaled over $73 million.
The city had a very similar list, including improvements to sidewalks, road repairs, land acquisition, downtown revitalization, City Hall repairs and more. That list was just over $12 million total.
Figured conservatively, the SPLOST dollars should equal around $60 million. This means both lists, totaling just over $85 million, need to be scaled down and revised. Also, members suggested that each department should verify that the projects and/or repairs proposed are using realistic numbers for their needs.
County Commissioner Chris Gaines said it was important to see the county and city as a unified team, regardless of geographical lines. During the meeting he said that it was a, “good opportunity to work better together.”
After the meeting, Gaines used his personal Facebook post to share his thoughts publicly. “The joint SPLOST meeting today was dominated by the desires of efficiencies. I firmly believe we are staring at the best opportunity we have ever had in our Community to identify and uncover duplication of services, better more efficient processes and better-aligned goals focused on delivering the very best service and protections to ALL Citizens while stretching your tax dollar further.”
Several members agreed that it would be best to allocate the funds evenly over all the needs to benefit both the county and the city.
The teams collectively agreed to take more time on the issue and moved the decisions til March 2021. That should give everyone time to gather public input, collect accurate data and verify realistic vs. proposed amounts.