The Newnan Times-Herald


Senoia officials: town hall discussion for TSPLOST only

  • By Sarah Fay Campbell
  • |
  • Oct. 08, 2019 - 9:41 PM

Next week’s town hall meeting in Senoia will be for the discussion of the proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The town hall meeting will be held Oct. 17 at the Senoia Senior Center, 300 Howard Road, starting at 6 p.m.

The town hall meeting was originally envisioned as a way for city residents and officials to discuss various issues, including the TSPLOST, future upgrades to the city’s sewer, water and stormwater infrastructure, and the “inclusive community” district affordable housing plan with Newnan Coweta Habitat for Humanity.

But the council now wants to discuss those other issues at a future meeting and dedicate next week’s meeting purely to TSPLOST.

The proposed TSPLOST is a 1 percent sales tax that will go to fund transportation projects in Coweta County and its cities. The money is divided amongst the county and its municipalities, and will go to fund a list of specific projects.

If approved by voters Nov. 5, it will begin being collected in April of 2020 and will be collected for five years – or until $125 million is collected, whichever comes first.

If the TSPLOST is approved, the sales tax rate in Coweta County will rise to 8 percent. Some items are exempt from TSPLOST taxes, most notably gasoline and other motor fuel.

A big reason for the change to the meeting’s focus is that the engineering rate study for the city’s sewer, water and stormwater infrastructure isn’t ready yet. The city is working to build a new sewer plant, and an increase in water system capacity will be needed soon. The city is also under a state mandate to improve stormwater management.

The original city plan to pipe stormwater runoff from downtown to Marimac Lakes has changed. Now the water will flow to detention ponds that will be built on Amey Street. Some existing homes on Amey Street will be demolished to make room for the ponds.

The city implemented a stormwater utility fee a few years ago, but it won’t fully fund the needed improvements.

While there was a large crowd at a recent town hall meeting hosted by the Senoia Downtown Development Authority, only two people showed up to a meeting on TSPLOST in the spring.

Mayor Jeff Fisher hopes for a better turnout for next week’s TSPLOST meeting.

“TSPLOST is very important – we want to focus on that,” said Councilman Chuck Eichorst.

At the last town hall meeting, which was supposed to focus on the things people would like to see improved in the town in the next few years, there was a lot of discontent over the affordable housing proposing, which threatened to derail the discussion.

Eichorst said he doesn’t want to see that happen to the TSPLOST discussion.

“It would draw away from a major topic that is going to be settled in early November,” he said. “We’re running out of time.”