Community News Ringgold, Ga., gains 45 percent increase in local option sales tax funds

Community News Ringgold, Ga., gains 45 percent increase in local option sales tax funds

January 31st, 2018 by Allison Shirk in Community North Georgia

Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright speaks during a work session Monday, July 31, 2017, at the Catoosa County Colonnade in Ringgold, Ga.

Photo by Erin O. Smith /Times Free Press.

Both Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe city councils unanimously voted last week to accept an agreement between the two cities and Catoosa County that will divvy up the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and help improve sewer services throughout the county. SPLOST is a one percent tax burden that citizens will absorb at the cash register if voters approve a referendum next year.

Ringgold, Ga. will receive about $8.67 million from the SPLOST — a 45 percent increase from the $6 million share the city was originally slated to receive based on its population of 3,600 residents. The city argued it should receive additional funds because it maintains sewer lines for 80 percent of the county, both inside and outside of the city.

Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright said more than $2.5 million of the city's portion would be used for water system improvements, development of a new groundwater well, sewer repairs, sewer extensions, sidewalks, street improvements, recreation and possibly emergency vehicles.

More than $5.8 million would go to major sewer projects, Wright said. Possible project areas are Highway 151 south of the industrial park, Peavine Basin from Boynton Recreation Youth Association to Heritage High and Middle schools, and Battlefield Parkway Estates.

"All projects will have to have board approval prior [to] funding," Wright said.

The county estimates the tax will reel in $60 million over the next five years, but it will be split between both Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe. The county's projected funding from the sales tax is $38.5 million, and Fort Oglethorpe would receive $13 million. Fort Oglethorpe plans to spend $6 million on the West Chickamauga Creek Sewer Basin, as well as another $8.1 million on city operations, such as new patrol cars and road paving.

Ringgold Councilman Randall Franks presented the city's argument for more money during meetings earlier this month. Franks called it the "best-case scenario."

"I was happy with the way we were able to negotiate fairly with everyone involved and come back with a good resolution," said Franks at the Jan. 22 council meeting.

The Catoosa County Board of Commissioners still has to approve the intergovernmental agreement and will vote on it Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Email Allison Shirk at allisonshirk92@gmail.com.