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Sales Tax Support For Peachtree Corners In Question

Power to bring tax revenue to proposed new city may rest with voters.

Voting to create a new City of Peachtree Corners is not likely to usher in more improvement projects supported by sales tax. But another future election opportunity could see tax revenues working closer to home.

Right now Gwinnett County shoppers pay an extra one percent on their purchases, which is a voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The county collects the revenues and shares a percentage with existing municipalities to complete transportation enhancements and other capital projects like parks.

But as County Commissioner Lynette Howard explained, the “city lite” model considered for Peachtree Corners will likely preclude SPLOST funds from being allocated specifically for city use.

As supporters of the Nov. 8 incorporation vote have stated, Peachtree Corners would take ownership of planning and zoning decisions as well as code enforcement and solid waste services. Public safety, roadwork, water / sewer and other necessities would remain county functions.

“Peachtree Corners is trying to be as minimal a type of government as possible,” Howard said. “The county is going to provide most of the services, and we still need to have funding to provide those services.”

Should the city vote meet with residents’ approval, Gwinnett County will work with the eventual City Council to formalize a new partnership.

“We have two years to work out an intergovernmental agreement with the new city, if it happens, so we can work on the logistics of how things get funded,” Howard said.

While this fall’s election may not greatly influence improvements, a vote next year could directly address a pressing need facing almost every Peachtree Corners resident.

In either July or November 2012, voters will have the opportunity to consider a regional transportation sales tax designed to fund specific projects in defined geographic areas.

On the current list of road enhancements is a multi-million dollar widening of Peachtree Parkway (State Route 141) from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to the Chattahoochee River, but efforts are underway to change the scope of the project.

As Howard said, local transportation authorities agree that key traffic-choked intersections should be targeted rather than the roadway expanded. One area needing a fix is the routinely congested Peachtree Parkway merge onto Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

“We still want the money to come here, but we want it to fix the problem – not just put a Band-Aid on it,” Howard said. “We don’t get a lot of money back into the Peachtree Corners and Berkeley Lake area, and we pay a lot of taxes.”

Peachtree Parkway is part of a larger list of improvement projects considered for implementation throughout the state. A regional roundtable charged with producing a final project list for voter consideration is expected to make their decision by Oct. 15.

Residents interested in the project are encouraged to attend a public hearing taking place Sept. 26 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville) from 5 to 7 p.m.

Jill Goldberg, a spokesperson for the transportation improvement effort, said public meetings like the one planned in Lawrenceville are the ideal times to hear specific details and provide input.

“This is the opportunity for citizens to say whatever they want to about the projects being proposed,” Goldberg said. “Now is the time for the public to weigh in.”

Steve Rausch October 08, 2011 at 01:25 PM
If our commission representative handles this issue as she does the airport issue, buy saying one view in public meetings and voting the opposite, then our views and opinions will again be ignored and we are wasting our time to turn out. All voters need to remember Ms. Howards actions at the polls and remind her of the responsibilities of her office.

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