For the first time in its history, DeKalb County voters approved a referendum to have a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) that will fund road paving and public safety improvements in DeKalb.
Before DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond presented his state of the county address at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain on March 28, county officials updated residents on the progress of SPLOST and what the money will be used for.
Thurmond said voters’ approval of the SPLOST referendum is a great accomplishment for the county.
“That SPLOST would not have been possible without our local, state and federal leaders and the men and women in the General Assembly and congressional leaders…we did what is right for DeKalb County,” Thurmond said.
According to Thurmond, DeKalb officials put aside their differences to help SPLOST get approved.
“The difference in SPLOST this year is that we figured out a simple thing. The reason people in north DeKalb voted just as strongly as the people in south DeKalb is because we figured out that potholes don’t discriminate,” Thurmond said. “The potholes don’t care if it’s a White man driving the car or a Black man driving the car.”
According to the referendum, SPLOST proceeds must be spent on transportation purposes such as roads, bridges public transit, airports, buses and seaports.
Approximately 85 percent, $240.3 million, of the proceeds from SPLOST will be used for repaving some of DeKalb’s most deteriorated roads, which would fund more than 318 miles of streets in the county.
Over the six-year term of the SPLOST sales tax, DeKalb County is expected to receive $388 million, with the 12 cities receiving a portion of $248.7 million based on population.
SPLOST will also fund $84.7 million in public safety improvements.
According to county officials, funds from the sales tax increase will help improve the county’s fire and rescue department by rebuilding or relocating seven existing fire stations, repairing 20 existing fire stations, replacing outdated fire rescue department radios and deploying 10 rapid response vehicles.
SPLOST will also replace 100 patrol vehicles for the DeKalb County Police Department (DKPD) and help fund a take-home car program.
“We cannot do our work without patrol vehicles. The purchase of these vehicles will help sustain that program and ensure all our officers have a patrol vehicle and can respond to emergencies to and from work,” said DKPD Police Chief James Conroy.
The county also plans to use SPLOST proceeds for a joint police academy
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