Its location on Tuesday's ballot belies the importance of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or E-SPLOST. The proposal for a renewal of the 1-cent sales tax is the last item on the ballot but is of the utmost importance to Gwinnett County Public Schools and would also aid Buford City Schools.
A renewal of the educational SPLOST could generate as much as $1.1 billion for Gwinnett County schools and allow the school system to continue "The Plan," an eight-year construction program designed to keep up with the system's rapid growth. Gwinnett's ability to do that is one of the reasons the system continues to be so highly regarded in the state and nation.
The Daily Post recommends voting yes for the E-SPLOST, which passed in both 1997 and 2001. The new SPLOST would run through 2012 and will also fund technology programs as well as new buildings.
Since the first SPLOST was approved in 1997, it has provided more than 3,000 classrooms in 30 new schools and has helped pare the use of trailers. It has also allowed the school system to purchase land for future use.
If SPLOST III passes it will provide 1,800 classrooms in 27 new schools in addition to improvements at existing schools. Though the referendum is the longest, in addition to the last, item on the ballot, it is very worthy of your consideration.
Referendum could help
revitalize parts of Gwinnett
When considering the Redevelopment Powers Law, which appears on Tuesday's ballot, it is important to know what it is not. It is not a tax increase nor does it in any way involve eminent domain.
It can, however, help control sprawl and reduce traffic while revitalizing and developing declining areas. That it does so with no tax increase makes a vote of yes on this referendum the recommendation of the Daily Post.
One of the best examples of the Redevelopment Powers Law is Atlantic Station in midtown Atlanta. It's that type of redevelopment that proponents of the referendum say can be used in Gwinnett in areas such as Gwinnett Place Mall and Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
The redevelopment of existing areas instead of developing the more rural parts of the county helps control sprawl while also helping to lessen crime and improve property values in those areas that may be in decline.
As the property values rise in designated revitalization districts due to redevelopment, revenue increases. What the Redevelopment Powers Law does is earmark those additional funds for infrastructure and the like within the district. In that case the existing tax revenues remain untouched.
If approved, the referendum could play a large role in returning parts of Gwinnett back to vibrancy. Have any thoughts about this editorial? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.