Earlier this week, Forsyth County Commissioners readied plans for a possible continuation of a special 1-cent sales tax program.
On Monday, commissioners and county staff discussed what needs to be done before and the timetable for SPLOST VIII — which could be voted on by the public in November 2018 — at a special called meeting.
“Basically, we’re about 51 weeks out from having a referendum,” said County Manager Eric Johnson.
No action was taken at the meeting, and commissioners merely gave input into the process. Johnson has previously said a six-year SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) could generate $274 million for projects.
The county is finalizing details on potential county projects in November and December and will hold a joint meeting with the city of Cumming in May.
Between those dates, special called meetings will be held in March, to review community feedback and set a tentative project list, and in May to finalize county projects.
In January and February, the county is expected to host 10 public meetings — two in each commission district — to allow residents to give input and get information.
Johnson cautioned commissioners to think of projects in terms of geography rather than by commission district.
“I know that you care about district lines, and I think in the input process we need to get input by district,” Johnson said, “but when we start to get this together in a package, we have to show geographically, so people can look and say, ‘where will I take my child to for sports’ or ‘how close am I to the greenway?’”
The final project list between the city and county is expected to be approved in June, and an agreement between the governments is expected in July.
Between the agreement being signed and the vote, the county will be getting information out to the public.
Forsyth County also will work out percentages with the city of Cumming, where collections also occur. For SPLOST VII, the city received about 12.5 percent of the funds.
Political changes could also play a role in SPLOST VIII.
Commissioners indicated the recent election of Cumming Mayor-elect Troy Brumbalow could impact plans for city SPLOST projects.
“They’ve got a whole new regime over there,” said District 1 Commissioner Pete Amos said. “It may totally shift directions. Until January, we won’t know.”
Last week, a committee formed by District 25 state Rep. Todd Jones recommended moving forward with the proposed city of Sharon Springs in south Forsyth, which would need to pass the Georgia General Assembly, be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal and be approved by voters living in the area in May.
Johnson said the proposed city would not likely impact the SPLOST plans for Forsyth County and Cumming.
“I don’t really think so because they won’t have the elected officials in May,” Johnson said. “There’s going to be a period of transition for them.”