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County officially closes '01 sales tax program

LAWRENCEVILLE -- With just two months left in 2012, county leaders have officially closed out a sales tax program that dates back to 2001.

The move earlier this month is mostly administrative, with the vast majority of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds spent years ago, Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.

"The fund was not closed previously in order to ensure that all the administrative items were completed -- that contracts were closed out properly, that the required audit was performed with satisfactory results and that the county's obligations were fully met, including a final report to the Citizens Project Selection Committee," Nash said.

"In my opinion, maintaining a separate fund until everything on the checklist was completed should be seen as a plus since it demonstrates our commitment to accountability for the funds that the voters entrusted to the county," she added. "The formal approval to close the fund was our public announcement that not only are the projects complete but that accounting for the funds is complete as well."

Of the $496.1 million collected between April 1, 2001 and March 31, 2005, the final purchases came in 2011: $1.5 million for the tactical shoot house and about $2.4 million in various transportation completions.

The program built $59.5 million in public safety facilities, including the police training center and six fire stations, more than $200 million in parks projects, including the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, and three libraries -- one each in Dacula, Suwanee and Grayson. More than $200 million went to roads, sidewalks, bridges and other improvements, including and extension to McGinnis Ferry Road and the first portion of funding for the Sugarloaf Parkway extension now nearly complete.

About $1.46 million left over was transferred to the 2009 program.

"The formal process for closing the fund involves administrative functions like closing bank accounts, closing budgets, closing accounting records, etcetera," county spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said.

While a handful of projects lingered in the past few years, the majority were finished before the end of the decade.

In fact, 99.1 percent of the funds collected during the 2005 sales tax program has been spent and 67.2 percent has been spent from the 2009 program, for which collections will continue into 2014, Sawyer said.

While commissioners have not called for an extension, another 1-percent sales tax program could be on ballots next year.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 4 months ago

And now comes all the labor and upkeep for ll those facilities that must be paid for with future tax money, not SPLOST funds. One good thing I guess: it took the county from 2001-2012 to spend all that money.

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Sandykin 1 year, 4 months ago

$1.5 million for the tactical shoot house...

What the heck is the tactical shoot house?

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JohnGalt 1 year, 4 months ago

I believe that is where they all congregate, and strategically "shoot the crap" with one another...like a backroom BOC meeting!

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jack 1 year, 4 months ago

Where I live, a "shoot house" is where heroin addicts congregate...........which I guess is somewhat similar to a BOC meeting.

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JohnGalt 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm kinda partial to this little GEM!

"... it demonstrates our commitment to accountability for the funds that the voters entrusted to the county..."

Now, seriously, that is funny! The very fact that you would spew such nonsense just goes to show and only reinforces our assertion that, well, you just don't have a friggin' clue, and couldn't buy one with all the tax money provided to you! Why don't all of you do something a little more dignified, like join the ranks of the rest of those who have left before you!

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Why_not 1 year, 4 months ago

It's obvious that most people can't grasp exactly how much of a benefit the SPLOST program actually is to local government. The facilities listed above have been a tremendous benefit to all citizens and none were paid for from the general fund. I will ALWAYS vote for a SPLOST referendum especially if it has anything to do with public safety.

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R 1 year, 4 months ago

Which explains why blind followings have put us where we are today...

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Why_not 1 year, 4 months ago

Ok R....what would your alternative be?

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Kent 1 year, 4 months ago

SPLOST forever adds more government employees and facilities which the taxpayer has to fund via additional taxation. Sort of like me giving you a horse for a penny on the dollar and through your simple minded thinking you think it is a great deal. Then you have to feed the critter, have a pasture to put it on, build a barn to house it, pay the vet bills, buy a truck and trailer to transport it, buy a saddle and bridle, etc. etc. To add insult to injury all these additional upkeep items require you to pay more taxes. But that is great, because it helps policemen and firemen, the environment, and of course it is done for the children. Parks and libraries are grossly overbuilt in this county and such projects as Beaudreau having a 400 thousand dollar tunnel built at his favorite golf course hang out waste millions of dollars each year. The commissioners love SPLOST because it provides a funding source to buy votes.

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Why_not 1 year, 4 months ago

I totally agree with your statement regarding parks and libraries but as the population grows, the county has to improve infrastructure just to attempt to stay current. As far as helping police and firefighters, I suppose it does but the greatest benefit is to the citizens of Gwinnett County. I do know the land for the fire stations, the construction of the fire stations and all the apparatus are paid for by SPLOST. Of course the employees are paid for with tax revenue but without the SPLOST we would not have those improvements period.

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Mack711 1 year, 4 months ago

You summmed up the SPLOST fund correctly and accurately. Everyone sees the construction side, but no one sees the cost of maintaining these facilities that is not included in the SPLOST. Therefore our taxes in the future will be raised. One has to ask do we really need all the elobrate buildings with things like Atriums and such for a library? Do not think so. Just a simple building would do just as well. Let's ger prctical with our building and spending.

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kevin 1 year, 4 months ago

The Gwineett BOC told us the McGinnis Ferry road was heading to construction once the stimulas money was received. Why is this article telling us the SPLOST funds paid for it? That is a blatant lie by the BOC.

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