Catoosa County voters will get to decide March 19 whether to keep a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax for another five years.
As to what projects would be funded by the roughly $56 million in revenue over half a decade -- that's still up in the air.
Officials from the county and its two cities, Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold, met on Nov. 27 and Dec. 12 to try to winnow down a "wish list" of $160 million in proposed projects.
More discussion had been planned for the morning of Dec. 18, but county officials put that on hold for the time being, according to Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Ron Goulart.
"They wanted to take a look at it again," he said of the Catoosa County Commission. "I think that they're pretty close to resolving it."
Fort Oglethorpe's portion of the special sales tax revenue would fund things such as new police cars and fire vehicles, sewer and water system improvements and recreation, Goulart said.
He said it's important to stay on top of sewer system work.
"I don't want to be paying down fines," Goulart said.
He expects voters will approve the tax.
"I think it will [pass], especially if they include a little money for recreation," Goulart said.
County Commissioner DeWayne Hill also expects the measure to pass.
"To me, it's a no-brainer," Hill said. "It helps get the things the county needs without raising property taxes."
"It gives us new police cars, fire equipment, recreation," Hill said. "Sewer in places we desperately need sewer."
Hill said about 100,000 vehicles drive through Catoosa County on Interstate 75 every 24 hours, and some of those motorists stop for gas, food and shopping -- which helps fill the county's coffers with sales tax revenue.
Hill said commissioners may consider what to put before voters when the panel meets Jan. 3.
"We've only got a couple of weeks left after the first of the year to get this thing completed," he said.
Fort Oglethorpe also will hold a March 19 election to fill temporarily the seat of City Councilman Eddie Stinnett, who died of a heart attack.
Voting will take place at City Hall, 500 City Hall Drive.
Voting for the special purpose local option sales tax will take place at Constitution Hall, 201 Forrest Road, on election day and at Westside at 3319 Lakeview Drive during early voting, Goulart said.
Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...
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