A penny sometimes makes all the difference. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST, is a one-cent, voter-approved sales tax. It’s something Gwinnett Voters have approved since the mid-1980’s and it’s resulted in hundreds of projects that keep Gwinnett a great place to live, work and play.
To break it down: State tax for Georgia is four percent, or 4 cents a dollar. SPLOST adds an additional one percent, or 1 cent a dollar. Then the Education SPLOST adds one percent, or 1 cent a dollar. All this adds up to the six percent sales tax we’ve known for decades.
Where do the pennies go? In the years prior, organizations within the county submitted proposals for the funding for capital improvement projects. A capital project defined as major project which is of a permanent or a long-lasting nature
For example, Gwinnett County Police and Fire and Emergency Services might submit a proposal for new equipment, like new ladder trucks to ensure public safety personnel can do their job safely and effectively. These proposals are then reviewed by a committee (of citizens like you!) who then vote to approve the proposal.
According to the Gwinnett County Website, here is an estimated breakdown on how the County plans to use 2023 SPLOST funds:
- Transportation: $736.3 million for roads, streets, bridges, facilities, and equipment
- Public safety facilities/equipment: $133.9 million; $86.4 million will go toward a new police headquarters
- Recreational facilities/equipment: $108 million
- Courthouse facility renovation: $12.5 million
- Animal Welfare facility renovation: $5.2 million
- Senior Services facilities: $4.7 million
- Fleet Management facilities: $4.4 million
A committee made up of residents will review and prioritize transportation projects, the largest category in the proposed sales tax program.
These pennies serve a purpose. SPLOST has helped make Gwinnett exceptional by funding for thousands of acres of park land, masterplanning, construction, and renovation of facilities that enrich people’s lives daily. The tax has raised millions of dollars for playgrounds, community centers, gymnasiums, pools and aquatic centers, ADA accessibility improvements and new and upgraded sports fields. It has also funded skate parks, sand volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, concessions and restroom buildings, pavilion and picnic areas, historic site restoration, dog parks, trails and greenways, conservation projects, new and renovated senior centers, new and relocated branch libraries, and more. The list of SPLOST projects is long and ongoing. SPLOST-funded parks, senior facilities and library projects make Gwinnett a more desirable place to live.
The Gwinnett County Police and Fire and Emergency Services departments are among the best trained and best equipped in the country, thanks largely to SPLOST. Revenues from the one-cent sales tax have paid for an expansion and renovation of police headquarters, construction of a state-of-the-art police training center, which is currently undergoing a SPLOST-funded expansion, and a new back-up E-911 Communications Center. It also pays for new precincts, such as the Bay Creek Police Precinctlocated near Grayson. SPLOST revenues have paid for the Fire Department headquarters, the training academy complete with classrooms and a burn building, and new fire stations like Fire Station 13 in Suwanee that are currently under construction. SPLOST pays for new equipment and vehicles like ladder trucks and patrol cars to ensure public safety personnel can do their job safely and effectively.
With Gwinnett’s population expected to soar to 1.5 million by 2040, the pressure on the transportation system will grow as well. Keeping up with demand will require substantial investment. The SpecialPurpose Local Option Sales Tax programs approved by voters will help Gwinnett manage future transportation requirements. SPLOST pays for new roads, additional lanes, intersection improvements, roundabouts, resurfacing and maintenance, bridges, and sidewalks. The County issued SPLOST revenues to cover its share of freeway-style improvements on State Route 316, a future extension of Sugarloaf Parkway from State Route316 to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, and many, many smaller projects in between. SPLOST allows Gwinnett County and the cities to make substantial infrastructure investments on a pay-as-you-go basis, reducing the need to go into debt.
SPLOST will be on the ballot in the 2022 Voting Season!