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Leaders call for sales tax referendum in November

LAWRENCEVILLE — Shall a one-percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district of Gwinnett County? It will be up to the voters to decide.

Commissioners officially called for a special election to determine whether a one-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax will continue to fund county capital projects, mostly roads.

A week after signing an agreement with local cities to divvy up to $498 million in taxes collected over three years, leaders set in motion the next step, which is a Nov. 5 referendum. The county elections board is set to meet Thursday to finalize the vote.

“I’m ready. It’s a long process, and a lot of work has gotten us to this point,” Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said of putting the tax before voters. “We think we’ve put together good proposed uses. The cities have done the same. We hope the public will see it in that same light as they go to the polls in November.”

Gwinnett Elections Director Lynn Ledford said the special election — which comes on a day when local cities will hold council elections — is expected to cost up to $500,000 and could bring a turnout of about 20 percent of registered voters.

To avoid that cost and low turnout the next time around, officials have proposed a three-year cycle to the sales tax program, which will begin on April 1, 2014, the day after the current program expires.

With up to $275 million of the county’s portion earmarked for transportation, officials have planned an organizational meeting of a citizens project selection committee. The committee will recommend specific projects for the money sent to transportation.

For residents interested in helping with that process, the meeting is scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville.

Commissioners approve land sale

Eight years after purchasing land in the Norcross area for water tanks, commissioners approved the sale of the land Tuesday for a school.

According to documentation, the county bought 21 acres along Graves Road for just under $2.1 million in water and sewer funds in 2005, after master planning efforts showed the need for two 20-million gallon ground storage water tanks in the area.

But further modeling and master planning showed the need was less than originally anticipated, a memo from Water Resources Director Ron Seibenhenner said.

After Gwinnett County Public Schools officials reached out when they heard of the county’s plans to surplus the property, county agreed to sell at a price of $100,000 an acre, which is about the same as the purchase price and in line with an appraisal from the school system, the memo said.

While 19.37 acres will be the site of a new elementary school, expected to be complete for the 2015 school year, the county will retain 1.5 acres for possible future needs.

School officials approved the purchase last week.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 4 months ago

no. This was voted down once before. We have had enough taxing ourselves like fools that we are. So what happened to the name we were given last week: SPLOST?

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Why_not 1 year, 4 months ago

What was voted down before was a sales tax that would be collected in our county as well as many other. There was no guarantee that even a small percentage of that would be used here in Gwinnett. The SPLOST is voted by us and 100% of the revenue will be used in Gwinnett County. Not even remotely the same referendum.

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Why_not 1 year, 4 months ago

Kelvin....read the article again.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 1 year, 3 months ago

Please don't post your thoughts if you have no idea what you are talking about. Kevin has absolutely no clue what is going on here.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 3 months ago

Much rather have a 1 cent tax that everyone pays instead of the homeowner picking up all the tab. Remember folks lot of people in Gwinnett pay no property tax. They use the roads, bridges and the great new modification at pleasanthill overpass. I just wish they would spend the money wisely.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

Transportation is something the government is responsible for from its general fund, an area in which the BOC must vote on the tax on us. Tired of putting more burden on myself when Nash can't do her job. Start making priorities to live within your means instead of grabbing more from our earned income.

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LilburnsFuture 1 year, 3 months ago

Please show me where this statement is a fact

Remember folks lot of people in Gwinnett pay no property tax.

It's likely they are paying through their rent. If they are not, they should be treated equally and pay.

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Dubbin 1 year, 3 months ago

If people don't live here but drive through and/or work here they don't pay Gwinnett property taxes. Right?

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

Dublin if they work here the EMPLOYER gets property taxed, UNLESS the elected officials have cut a deal(s) to land them...

Now its time to ask how muck Gwinnett gave away with the Chambers business growth claims over the years. There is no free ride only tradeoffs.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 3 months ago

"Remember folks lot of people in Gwinnett pay no property tax"

wow...

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SurelyNot 1 year, 3 months ago

A lot of people in Gwinnett DON'T pay property taxes. Correct. There are thousands who use our roads daily, get our fire and police protection, etc. while working in GC. Their cars do the same damage to the highways. Their simply being here requires we protect them. And their being takes its toll.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 3 months ago

ok, let's review..all private property in gwinnett county is taxed, and that tax is paid by somebody, and the folks who don't live here and therefore don't pay property tax, buy stuff like food and gas and pay the sales tax.

still gonna vote no..but jesus folks, get your facts right.

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BufordGuy 1 year, 3 months ago

Correct, all private property is taxed (an entire 'nuther discussion) but not at the same rate. There are TONS of exemptions that lower the taxable value of property but the vehicles and traveling those folks do contribute to the need to improve and repair the transportation system. This "fair tax" is the only way to make sure everyone pays---and it is still a percentage point less than neighboring counties which is an incentive for those "passing through" to buy here.

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

So Buford Guy how about leveling out the exemptions BEFORE demanding more from us...

When you exempt certain businesses for YEARS, you bring on the very pressure you claim we now have to FIX...

And if we take back our government funding from the Chamber as a small baby step, perhaps we can make a start down that road.

As 2 the 1 percent lower rate statement, that's because we aren't in MARTA - pure and simple...

But the days are coming when the GWINNETT bus system is going to drain us even more ...

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

What happened to Nash's big battle cry for election, no new taxes? Enough of her and this board. time for new blood. Never re-elect and you will see how much better off a taxpayer will be. It is also a joke that Nash had to pay $498 for stopping the delivery of services. Why wasn't something cut after the cities decided to do their own thing? No excuse. That was way too much money for Gwinnett taxpayers to come up with after stopping services to those cities. Very bad management all around.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

This isn't a new tax Kelvin. It's a continuation of what is in effect now....where ya been?

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

Kelvin, based on all your comments here, you obviously do not know what's going on.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

Do some research Kelvin. The cities have been providing a lot of their own services for years but their residents paid the same tax rate as everyone else. The end result is that a judge decided that the tax inequality had to be resolved. There was no personnel to cut from the county work force because our police have not patrolled inside the cities for years.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

Basically, the choice is simple.....vote for the SPLOST and continue to pay the same sales tax rate in force now or vote no and eventually have to pay higher property taxes because we would no longer have that 1% tax for capital improvements. I have out-of -county relatives that frequent the Mall of Georgia and local restaurants here on a regular basis. Every purchase they make adds to the tax collected to be used only in our county. If the SPLOST fails, within two to four years comments on here will be complaining about the increase in the property tax mileage rates.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

$100,000 per acre for land is a very high price back in 2005. Who owned that land is what citizens should be asking. So the BOC sold it for no profit after 8 yrs of holding it and maintenance. What a deal. So the BOC sells it to itself! Don't we also pay for the Gwinnett school system?

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

The school's budget is entirely separate from the county's. It's called balancing the books....geeze.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 1 year, 3 months ago

Kevin, please stopping commenting. You have no idea what you are talking about. The School taxes and County taxes are two different things. You have convinced me that you don't pay taxes or you are just an idiot plain and simple. Either way you should not be commenting on this story. If you bought something back in 2005 (other than gold) and sold it today for the same price you would be pretty happy. That includes land, vehicles, houses, etc. Stop being an idiot just because you can! Stopping what services to cities? The cities were basically paying for county police protection when they had their own police force. The county police did not really patrol inside the cities in the first place so no reduction was needed. You are the guy that hangs out around the water cooler at work and picks up bits and pieces of conversations. Then you turn around and post them here like you know what you are talking about.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 1 year, 3 months ago

SPLOST has been a good thing for Gwinnett County. Hearing that a large chunk of the revenue will go towards infrastructure is good. I would caution every voter who is going to blindly walk in and vote No. With SPLOST we get some revenue from the people who come to Gwinnett from other Counties. What happens if SPLOST is voted down? Do you think property taxes will stay the same? A No vote will just put the whole burden on Gwinnett residents in the long run. Roads and bridges have to be built, repaired, and improved no matter if you vote yes or no.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

Lets not forget another area that benefits from the SPLOST. Every vehicle owned by Gwinnett County has been purchased with SPLOST funds.....police cars, dump trucks, road maintenace equipment, ambulances and fire engines. Imagine the additional burden placed on the tax base should SPLOST be taken out of the equation.

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pcjohn 1 year, 3 months ago

How about buying police vehicles out of the asset forfeiture funds that they get? As long I've been around here I've never seen a public accounting of those funds.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

I guarantee you the amount from that would not even be close to what is needed for any fiscal year.

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pcjohn 1 year, 3 months ago

To make such an apparently knowledgeable assertion you must know the amount the cops get from asset forfeiture and the yearly amount needed to keep these guys in their high cost vehicles. In respect of your "guarantee", I'd like you to state both figures so your statement can be verified. I hope you oblige soon.

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pcjohn 1 year, 3 months ago

Still waiting for those numbers, why not.

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pcjohn 1 year, 3 months ago

I guess you're not going to respond, as I suspected. So much for your strong statements that appear to be legitimate ..... until challenged.

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SuxBeanU 1 year, 3 months ago

POLITICIANS WONDER WHY PEOPLE MAKE SO MANY PURCHASES OVER THE INTERNET, DOES IT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH SALES TAXES? IT DOES FOR ME.

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Reason 1 year, 3 months ago

Don't count on making internet purchases tax free if you live in Ga, for very long. Poor, Keverton. This is not the only news topic he has struggled with. At least we can count on him for consistency.

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