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City, county approve SPLOST VIII agreement

It appears that there is a deal in place between Forsyth County and the city of Cumming if local voters choose to extend a special 1-cent sales tax this fall.

Forsyth County Commissioners voted 5-0 at a recent meeting to approve an agreement with the city about the split of SPLOST VIII — special purpose local option sales tax — funds. After receiving the original proposal from the county, the Cumming City Council approved the split last week.

“The city was very complimentary of the county, and what you offered them,” said County Manager Eric Johnson, who had attended the city council’s meeting two days earlier. “I know that some of you had your own discussions with the city, and I just wanted to make sure that you understood that publicly they expressed their appreciation.”

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, about $13.5 million.

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, those projects have been included as part of the county’s split. 

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.

At the city council meeting, Mayor Troy Brumbalow said the agreement included that the city would work with the county on future water projects.

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.