FORT VALLEY -- Peach County voters overwhelmingly approved a special purpose local option sales tax referendum Tuesday.
Voters approved the penny sales tax by better than a 2-1 margin, 1,889 yes to 889 no.
“I think the people, we presented a plan to them, and passage of the SPLOST was part of that plan,” said Peach County Commission Chairman Melvin Walker. “I think they realized we were doing what’s in the best interest of the county.”
The tax won’t begin until the current one ends in 2015. The county wanted to go ahead and get the extension approved before the state has its transportation sales-tax referendum in July.
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The early lead time will be beneficial, Walker said, because the county can do preliminary planning work on the projects during that period.
“We will be ready to go when the money starts coming in,” he said.
The new tax will last for six years and is projected to raise $22 million. It will be used for projects throughout the county, as well as in Fort Valley and Byron.
The projects include $2 million for a long-delayed effort to bring sewer service to an area where septic tanks don’t work properly. It also includes $3 million for a Workforce Development Center that will provide job training in cooperation with Middle Georgia Technical College.
Another $1 million is directed for recreation improvements and $4.4 million will go toward public safety facility improvements and equipment throughout the county and the two cities. The public safety improvements include new fire trucks and upgrades to communications equipment.
Countywide projects include $3.8 million for road and street improvements. Byron is getting $2.8 million for a stormwater utility.
Peach County has had a SPLOST since 1985. Sales tax throughout the county will remain at 7 percent.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.