Banks, Little

Commissioner Mark Banks, seated, and Chairman Kevin Little speak before a work session of the Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Monroe.

MONROE, Ga. — Walton County voters will decide this fall if they want to pay a little more to get a lot more road work done.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to put a 1% sales tax on the Nov. 3 ballot. That 6-0 vote also approved an intergovernmental agreement with the county’s seven cities.

Heavy turnout is expected, as voters will be selecting the president and two senators on Nov. 3.

Commissioner Mark Banks said he thinks the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, would be a good way to solve one of the biggest complaints of citizens.

“I think that’s one of the biggest problems we all hear about is transportation — every commissioner and commission chairman, that’s probably No. 1,” the Loganville Republican said before voting for the resolution.

“And I think the best way to pay for it is to let the sales tax do it, rather than property tax.”

Chairman Kevin Little said he thinks the T-SPLOST “will be good for the county SPLOSTgoing forward” if it passes.

“There are a lot of transportation projects,” he said. “We’ve been meeting for a little over a year now with all the cities and we’ve got a lot of projects and a lot of things ready to go forward if this passes in November.”

Little called the initiative “Moving Walton” and said all of the county’s cities are on board.

“It’s really going to open up a lot of gridlock, especially in the city of Monroe and the city of Loganville, and it’ll give us a lot of opportunities to partner with DOT (the Department of Transportation) to open up a lot of their problem areas as well.”

Walton County shoppers currently pay 7 cents on the dollar in sales tax. That includes a 1% SPLOST, approved in 2018, and a 1% tax for education capital projects renewed in 2016. Both were voted in by wide margins.

Voters across Georgia considered regional T-SPLOST projects in 2012. Almost all failed at the ballot box, including the Northeast Georgia region that included Walton County.

Local voters rejected it by a margin of about 3-to-1.

In other business, the commissioners voted to appoint Charna Parker as planning and development director after the retirement of Mike Martin.

Martin retired after nearly 21 years in the position.

“It’s mighty big shoes to fill, but I’m going to try,” Parker said.

Commissioners met by video conference for the fourth month in a row due to the COVID-19 emergency. Little said he hopes the Aug. 4 meeting will take place back in the Historic Walton County Courthouse.

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