This week, Forsyth County held the first of 10 meetings to get locals involved with a possible continuation of a tax program.
On Wednesday, Forsyth County hosted the first SPLOST VIII (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) public input meeting at the Cumming Public Library, where the community had a chance to give their thoughts on where the money collected should go.
Below is a list of when, where meetings will be held
District 2, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 30, Old Atlanta Park Recreation Center,
810 Nichols Road, Suwanee
District 4, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 31, Coal Mountain Park Community Building,
3560 Settingdown Road, Cumming
District 5, 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 7, Windermere Lodge, 4444 Front Nine Drive, Cumming
District 4, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 8, Hampton Park Library, 5345 Settingdown Road, Cumming
District 1, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 13, Central Park Recreation Center banquet room,
2300 Keith Bridge Road, Cumming
District 2, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 22, Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College,
3410 Ronald Reagan Boulevard, Cumming
District 3, 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 27, Post Road Library, 5010 Post Road, Cumming
District 5, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 28, County Administration Building lobby,
110 E. Main Street, Cumming
District 3, 6-8 p.m. March 8, Fowler Park Recreation Center gym,
4110 Carolene Way, Cumming
“This is the opportunity to go out into the community, different geographic areas, and let people tell us at the front end of this process for discussing a SPLOST they like,” said County Manager Eric Johnson.
Nine more meetings will be held across the county, and meetings will be held this week on Tuesday at the Old Atlanta Park Recreation Center and Wednesday at Coal Mountain Park Community Building. Both meetings will be held from 10 a.m. to noon.
At the meeting, residents were given information on what had been done through past SPLOST issues, met with representatives from county departments and were able to complete an exercise letting county staff know their preferences for where the money should go.
Johnson said the meetings were more for general ideas of where the money should go rather than specific ideas.
“We’re looking for relative priorities … [to] get a sense of what people like. If they support, how much they would like to see going to transportation versus libraries versus parks and rec or public safety,” he said. “We’re not really looking for people to tell us specific projects yet because we’re talking about what we will do with money that won’t come in for a year and a half.”
Once commissioners discuss the findings from the meetings, the county will come back later in the year to again meet with residents.
“The board will start that discussion in March,” Johnson said. “We’ll lock it in about June, so then we have the opportunity for the public to learn what’s proposed, decide if they like it, will they support it in November or decide if they’re not going to support it.”
Forsyth County resident Latresha Jackson said she appreciated the chance to give some input and hear from county officials.
“I thought it was a great idea to get input from the community, since we are the ones who are paying taxes,” she said. “I thought it was a great chance to meet people in our local government that have the greatest impact on our day-to-day lives and hear their concerns, their ideas, some of the things they’d like to see happen and do within the county.”
SPLOST was first approved in Forsyth County in 1987 and has been continued six times since.
In the past, the construction of the new jail, courthouse and parking decks in downtown Cumming, new fire stations and fire trucks, road widening and infrastructure improvements and purchasing land for county parts has been undertaken with SPLOST funding.
A daytime and nighttime meeting will be held for each commission district, and attendees are encouraged to drop in at any time during the meetings. There will be no formal presentations, and all meetings will have the same information.