Many of us in Paulding County, Georgia, in the Greater Atlanta area are facing our second consecutive millage rate increase, receiving our tax bills this week. However, that load might get a little lighter – thanks to the Paulding County Board of Education.
The school board members have voted to ask county residents to renew the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, for another five years on our Nov. 2 ballot.
If we approve this one-cent sales tax renewal, a part of our school tax rate will be reduced for five years by 2.963 mills – the part that is used for school construction.
The five years would begin with the November 2011 tax bill.
The other school millage rate of 18.99 for maintenance and operations would not be included in this promise to the voters.
A complexity that is added to the mix, though, is that Paulding voters chose on July 20 to renew SPLOST for the county and the cities of Dallas and Hiram.
With this temporary tax rollback proposal, school board members are hoping this plan will be enough to persuade us to approve this second SPLOST renewal. That sounds good to me – especially since I could drive around four miles to the nearest Kroger in Cobb County and pay less sales tax instead of driving the same distance to the Kroger or Wal Mart in Paulding.
The first $54.5 million collected of the renewed SPLOST would be used to pay down the school district’s bond debt, said Paulding School Superintendent Cliff Cole.
The next $14 million in collections would be used to maintain school buildings, he added.
As much as an additional $21.5 million – for a total maximum collection of $90 million during those five years – would be used for school renovation and construction and land acquisition for new schools, Cole explained.
The money cannot be used for salaries and benefits, which make up 90 percent of the school district’s budget, or for the budget deficit, explained Tom Cable, the school board’s attorney.
Since the school district’s current SPLOST will expire next year, Cable said the question needs to be on the November ballot to continue the collections.