COVINGTON -- District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz will host a fireside chat for all Newton County residents at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Oaks Course, located at 11240 Brown Bridge Road.
The event will provide information to citizens about the upcoming referendum popularly known as TSPLOST, or Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Each of Georgia's 12 regional commission districts will vote on July 31, 2012, on whether to adopt a 1 percent regional sales tax. If approved, projected revenue of $987,987,352 is expected to be collected over the next decade to be spent on transportation projects.
"It was important with the referendum coming up. I just don't feel like there's been enough information presented for voters to make an educated decision," Schulz said.
Doug Callaway with Connect Georgia will make the presentation on TSPLOST. Connect Georgia is a group funded by the Georgia Transportation Alliance, which has a mission of securing the passage of TSPLOST. But Schulz said it will be a just-the-facts type presentation to give citizens the opportunity to become educated and make their own decisions.
In the regions where the TSPLOST is approved, money raised in that region will stay there to fund transportation projects. A Regional Roundtable determined projects that 75 percent of the funds will be spent on for the region, with the remaining 25 percent to be expended on local projects.
Each region would delegate a citizens' accountability committee to ensure projects are completed on time and on budget.
"If voters in a region do not pass this transportation tax, transportation projects will need to be funded from traditional sources of revenue," Schulz said in a press release announcing the fireside chat. "In addition, local governments in the region where the tax does not pass will be required to provide increased matching funds for local maintenance grants from the state as compared to local governments in regions that pass the tax. Also the region cannot attempt another transportation referendum for at least two years."
Schulz also plans to discuss the county budget process, currently under way for fiscal year 2013, and the recent announcement by Baxter International that it will invest $1 billion and bring 1,500 jobs to Newton.