WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County commissioners approved two resolutions Monday to officially call for a March 6 referendum to continue a penny sales tax they estimate will generate about $155 million for projects.
“We’re going to remind (voters) as we go forward, it’s not a new tax,” said Chairman Tommy Stalnaker. “The sales tax will remain at 7 percent ... It’s not a new tax.”
Commissioners voted 3-0 at a special-called meeting to approve an intergovernmental agreement -- which Centerville, Perry and Warner Robins City Councils signed last week -- and a resolution officially calling for the renewal of a special purpose local option sales tax. Commissioner Larry Thompson was unable to attend Monday’s meeting.
Stalnaker said the Houston County Board of Elections must now vote to add the referendum to the ballot.
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If approved, the funds would be used for initiatives throughout Houston County and its three cities, including encroachment, new government buildings, transportation and sewer upgrades, and recreational facilities.
Few residents -- aside from those who work for a municipality in the county -- attended two public hearings last week in which Stalnaker and department directors from the three cities and county detailed the earmarked projects.
“After hearing what the public had to say, I decided to add more money to the animal shelter and the Veteran’s Memorial,” said Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen.
Shaheen said he shifted $300,000 from the proposed Welcome Center. The city animal shelter -- which was not listed before -- would now receive $100,000, and the proposed Veteran’s Memorial Park would now receive $900,000 -- up from $700,000.
The Welcome Center, which is slated to be built at Russell Parkway and Interstate 75, would now receive $300,000.
“I took the funds from the Welcome Center because it will already get one and a half percent of the hotel/motel tax,” Shaheen said.
The Warner Robins alterations were the only ones made to the originally proposed list, Stalnaker said.
Stalnaker said the amounts each municipality will receive was primarily set according to populations. The tax will last for six years.
If approved, approximate amounts are as follows: $60.3 million on county-wide projects, $35.4 million in unincorporated areas, $5.1 million in Centerville, $9.8 million in Perry and $44.4 million in Warner Robins.
“In the past, they (voters) have seen the returns,” Stalnaker said.