Did you know that tomorrow is Election Day? What? Yes. It’s Election Day in many places including the city of Atlanta and more importantly, here in Gwinnett County. . Indeed this election is a far cry from presidential or mid-term elections. The biggest item on the ballot in Gwinnett is the county SPLOST vote. Still, the off-year election is important-especially with SPLOST. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax pays for a host of public projects in our neck of the woods including parks and recs, infrastructure upgrades, libraries and more.
To those who have been following SPLOST, it is no secret that it has a history of passing in Gwinnett County. But in recent years, cross sections of voters have become skeptical of SPLOST. This year, some voters feel that there is a lack of transparency and accountability in this SPLOST. In essence, if SPLOST passes, then the list of projects will be determined. Furthermore, some feel that SPLOST will unleash county leaders’ pocketbooks thus allowing them to spend more public dollars than they ought to spend.
SPLOST supporters state that the benefits of the measure outweigh the negatives and fiscal risks. Supporters say that a growing county like Gwinnett needs the funds for maintenance and improvements. According to recent reports including an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, the SPLOST is, “…estimated to raise $498 million with about 21 percent going to the county’s 16 cities.” So, if SPLOST does not pass, will property taxes rise? Only time will time. Another benefit that SPLOST supporters say will happen is a state-of-the-art school emergency system.
The entire idea with this SPLOST is a matter of trust. Do you trust that county and city leaders will properly use and manage the funds needed to make those “much-needed” improvement and maintenance issues? When you’re walking, running, driving, cycling or taking public transit, look around and ask yourself, “Do I think that our leaders will keep up this so-called excellent quality of life and will they do what it takes to make it better? Also, did my leaders supply me with specifics about how SPLOST will make my life and my neighbors’ lives better?”
Indeed presidential and mid-term elections have quite an impact on our lives, but these off-year local elections closely affect citizens. Please get out there and participate in this important vote tomorrow.