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City approves SPLOST split with county
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After Forsyth County Commissioners discussed SPLOST VIII — special purpose local option sales tax — projects the week before, it was the Cumming City Council’s turn this week.

At a work session on Tuesday, city council members voted 3-0, with Councilmembers Linda Ledbetter and Chad Crane absent, to approve an agreement with Forsyth County over the split of SPLOST funding.

“In negotiation with the county, we came up with the city’s share for SPLOST VIII, if approved by the voters, would be $13,494,000 [to] go to road, bridges parking and sidewalks and $1 million toward the Dobbs Creek Recreation Center expansion,” said Mayor Troy Brumbalow.

The 1-cent sales tax is projected to have a six-year total of about $274 million. The city will get about 5.3 percent of those funds. 

Councilman Christopher Light said there was little animosity as officials with both governments hashed out their split of the funds. 

“They really seemed like they wanted to work with us on our projects,” Light said. “It looks like we’re getting everything we need or want. I appreciate that.”

Proposed city projects include the creation of a new “northern bypass” that would connect Hwy. 9 to Pilgrim Mill Road; improvements and maintenance to existing roads; expansion of the city’s aquatic center and the arena at the Cumming Fairgrounds; and the creation of a more accessible veterans’ memorial in the city.

Brumbalow said commissioners may contribute to the city’s plan for the memorial or do their own project. 

“They’re putting $500,000 towards some sort of Veterans memorial for SPLOST,” he said. “If the city does something, and the county is interested in doing it jointly, then they can steer that money towards the combined projects.”

Brumbalow said the agreement included that the city would work with the county on future water projects.

Some of the proposed county projects include pavement widening, development and improvements for the Big Creek Greenway renovation or development of new county parks and facility and a west precinct for the county sheriff’s office.

Previously, the county planned to use the first $100 million collected to pay off bond debt from the $200 million transportation bond approved by voters in 2014. Since $100 million of those bonds have not been issued, moving those projects to SPLOST has been considered.

SPLOST was first approved in Forsyth County in 1987 and has been continued six times since. Voters will decide whether or not to extend the program on Nov. 6.