This past Tuesday, middle school students from Langston Chapel and William James played tennis matches against area rival schools on the courts of the Mill Creek Tennis Center. It was the first day the 10-court complex was open to public play and offered a clear example of benefits our community reaps from funds collected through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
Tuesday, voters in Bulloch County will decide if the penny tax will continue to be collected for six years past the 2013 expiration date through 2019. While building a tennis complex certainly is not a necessity in any community, SPLOST dollars overwhelmingly fund some of the most basic public service needs in our backyard. Here is a sampling of only a few:
• Road, bridge and sidewalk repairs
• Water and sewer improvements
• Jail expansion and E-911 Center
• Georgia State Patrol post
• Ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles
• Fire stations and equipment
• Advanced public safety communications
• Mill Creek Regional Park
• Luetta Moore Community Center
• Animal shelter
We believe it is imperative Bulloch voters approve the SPLOST extension to maintain our current standard of living and to keep our millage rate one of the lowest among Georgia's 159 counties.
The extension will provide $82.2 million for capital improvements in Bulloch County, Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register. Among the projects that will be funded with the new SPLOST are transportation improvements, water and sewer expansion, disposal of solid waste, public safety and economic development.
Without SPLOST dollars to maintain our roads, parks and almost all infrastructure, Bulloch taxpayers could see a rise of two or three mills in their property taxes or face rapid deterioration of the public services that helped make our community one of the best in Georgia if the millage rate is not raised.
We believe neither alternative is acceptable and that's why we support extending the SPLOST for six more years.
Remember, sales tax is collected from everyone who buys almost anything in Bulloch County and Statesboro. That means all the people who come from surrounding counties to eat in our restaurants or buy merchandise in our stores helps pay for our roads and police cars, just to name two.
We believe SPLOST is a fair way to collect revenue and the only way keep our millage rate low and our public services high.
The Statesboro Herald supports a "Yes" vote on Tuesday's SPLOST referendum.