Continued improvements at the Seavy Street park, more downtown parking and centralized downtown restrooms are among Senoia’s priorities for the 2019-2025 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
A vote on the six-year extension of the 1 percent sales tax is set for November, though the current tax doesn’t expire until the end of 2018. Before the vote, Coweta County and all its municipalities must put together a list of projects to be funded with the tax. That process is getting started.
Senoia City Manager Harold Simmons told the Senoia City Council about his priorities at Monday’s council meeting.
The Seavy Street park has gotten major upgrades over the past year but there are more improvements in the long-range plan. Downtown parking is always an issue, and right now, the only public restrooms in downtown are at city hall – at the top of the hill on Main Street.
Councilman Chuck Eichorst said he agrees that those are key projects, but he’d like to also include other projects from the city’s long-range vision. The timeframe for the tax goes well beyond the park, parking and bathroom projects, Eichorst said.
Coweta County and its municipalities will be meeting May 18 to begin the process of finalizing project lists.
Councilman Bobby Graham said he recalled there being broad categories like transportation and parks and recreation, as well as some specific projects, in the SPLOST project lists. General categories would “give us a little more breathing room so that we don’t have to determine what the individual projects will be at the very start.”
The city will need to estimate the costs of the priority projects, said City Attorney Drew Whalen. And those would probably be the ones built first. More general projects could be done with the money that remains.
For the 2013 SPLOST, Senoia receives 2.6 percent of the total money raised. That will be approximately $3.1 million.
Cities and the county have the ability to “pre-fund” projects using bonds. That means using bonds to pay for the projects, then using sales tax revenues to pay off the bonds, instead of waiting until enough sales tax money comes in to pay for the projects.
“This has done exactly what I wanted to do – start the process,” Simmons said. He wanted to notify the council of the need to move forward, and to let the citizens know about the projects and the upcoming vote.