A light crowd – very light – turned out Tuesday night for the first in a series of town hall meetings held by Coweta County to discuss the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax process.
Just four members of the public attended the meeting, which was for the 2nd District, represented by Commissioner Tim Lassetter. It’s the largest of Coweta’s five districts, covering nearly half of the county – almost everything west of Carrollton Highway on the north side, and everything west of U.S. Highway 29 on the south side, as well as Moreland and nearly to Sharpsburg.
The primary focus of the meetings is to discuss SPLOST and to ask Cowetans what important projects they would like to see funded with the 1 percent sales tax. Cowetans will go to the polls in November to decide whether to extend the tax, which expires at the end of 2018, until 2025. The SPLOST vote will coincide with municipal elections.
Cowetans who can’t attend the town halls can still submit their comments and project priorities. Those at the meetings receive a sheet with three questions: 1. What projects are most desired in your commission district or neighborhood area (e.g. parks and recreation, public safety, roads or other capital projects)? 2. What projects are desired or needed anywhere in the county? 3. Is there additional information that can be provided to the citizens regarding the benefits of SPLOST? 4. Other comments?
Answers to these questions can be emailed to email@example.com . The answers should be submitted by May 18. That’s when the county and municipalities will meet to begin finalizing project lists.
Coweta County has had a SPLOST since 1986, and many major projects have been done with SPLOST funds. They include the Coweta County Fairgrounds, the Coweta Justice Center, the Newnan Police Department, renovation of the 1904 Courthouse, libraries, community centers, basically all of the recreation fields built since the 1990s and many road projects.
Having SPLOST helps reduce the county’s need to take on longterm debt. Currently, the county’s only debt is the fire bond, which was approved by voters in 2008.
“We’ve been able to save billions,” County Administrator Michael Fouts said.
Transportation projects, including road building, intersection improvements and road maintenance, have always taken the lion’s share of SPLOST revenues. In the current SPLOST, transportation projects account for 74 percent of the total revenues.
Fouts said that the Madras community center project would be the primary focus in the parks and recreation category, along with the proposed Newnan LINC greenway trail.
The next town hall meeting will be for the 3rd District, north central Coweta, on Monday, May 1. It will be at 6 p.m. at the Powell Expo Center, 197 Temple Ave., Newnan, with Commissioner Bob Blackburn.
The meeting for the 1st District, eastern Coweta, will be May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Senoia Community Center, 300 Howard Road, with Commissioner Paul Poole.
Commissioner Rodney Brooks of the 4th District will host a town hall meeting Monday, May 22 at 6 p.m. at the Central Community Center, 65 Literary Lane, Newnan, and 5th District Commissioner and current Chairman Al Smith will host a town hall Tuesday, May 30 at 6:30 at the Powell Expo Center.
The 4th and 5th District town hall meetings will be held after the May 18 county/city meeting. The town hall meetings were scheduled based on building availability and the commissioner’s schedules, said Fouts. Fouts said he knows many comments will come in after May 18, but he wants to get as many in before then as possible.
If you're unsure of your commission district, you can view a searchable map on the county's website. The map can be zoomed in to street level, or you can enter an address. https://cowetamaps.maps.arcgis...