SPLOST I – VI (1987 to 2013) earned $436 million. Of that, 59.19 percent is responsible for the development on Norman Drive and Inner Perimeter Rd., and Streetscape projects that revitalized Downtown Valdosta and Hahira which has drawn in businesses. Another 14.3 percent went to improve and expand the Lowndes County Jail facilities under the Public Safety and Equipment projects, along with new fire stations and equipment for and improvements to the sheriff and police departments. Nearly 12 percent went to Parks and Recreation, and 3.75 percent built the new judicial complex and the new airport.
The new SPLOST VII differs from the last SPLOST VII referendum in 2012 in that it is focused on basic needs. For example, seven bridges in Lowndes County are in desperate need of repair.
Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter was asked to interject, and stated that the county has to reduce the weight limits on these bridges because of their conditions. In the future, this will cause school buses, etc. to reroute away from the bridges in question if they are not repaired.
Prince stated that one of the proposed projects from SPLOST VII is a sidewalk from JL Newbern Middle School to North Forrest Street. She said it is a very busy area, and some of the children walk to school.
“All it will take is one child, one child, and if you’re the person who kills the child, then you’ll have to live with that,” Prince continued.
Mayor Gayle said it is important to keep in mind that some of the projects proposed in SPLOST VII will be done regardless if the SPLOST passes.
“We may have to borrow from GEMA, or bonds, which is expensive. You can either pay for it as you go through the SPLOST proceeds or revenues, or you can pay for it, then pay the interest on top of it.”
Gayle wrapped up by saying SPLOST would share the burden.
The percentages of the distribution breaks down as follows: 52 percent Water and Sewer infrastructure and equipment; 25 percent Roads, Bridges, Sidewalks, and Drainage; 13 percent Public Safety Facilities and Equipment; 5 percent Parks and Recreation Facilities & Equipment; 3 percent Public Works Facilities and Equipment; 1 percent Government Facilities and Equipment; and 1 percent Court Facilities and Equipment.