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.