DeKalb unveils ‘face’ of SPLOST campaign

During a DeKalb County board of commissioners meeting, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond introduced an important “family” to commissioners.

As part of a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)  education campaign, Thurmond introduced DeKalb residents and officials to the Penny family. Each member of the Penny family represents the categories of SPLOST funding.

The “face” of SPLOST and the Penny family is Joe Penny, Thurmond said. Joe Penny represents road improvements in DeKalb that are to be paid for by the 1-penny sales tax increase. According to Thurmond, road repaving with SPLOST funds will begin Sept. 27.

“We’re going to start repaving 300 miles of DeKalb’s most deteriorated roads, streets and bridges,” Thurmond said. “This is a huge step forward to eliminating potholes, improving our infrastructure and improving the quality of life in DeKalb County.”

According to DeKalb officials, DeKalb County will receive an estimated $388 million in revenue over the next six years. SPLOST was approved by DeKalb voters in November 2017. Approximately 85 percent of SPLOST proceeds will be spent on road repairs. SPLOST funding will also be used to improve public safety facilities, parks, libraries, senior centers and health centers.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond unveils a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax education campaign featuring the Penny family.

Thurmond said the purpose of the education campaign is to provide transparency, accountability and awareness of the county’s progress on SPLOST.

Thurmond said DeKalb will track every penny of SPLOST proceeds.

“Historically, we know there have been challenges about accountability, oversight and transparency,” Thurmond said. “In addressing that, we’ve committed ourselves to doing everything possible to ensure the citizens, voters and taxpayers of DeKalb County are aware of how their money is being spent…we are committed to ensure that every penny is invested to improve the quality of life in this county.”

Thurmond said DeKalb’s commitment to transparency also includes instituting a SPLOST oversight committee. The committee is a DeKalb-resident lead board which “is the voice of the citizens,” to make sure DeKalb officials are doing their job, Thurmond said.

The members of the Penny family include Joe Penny, Officer Penny, Fireman Penny, Libby Penny (who handles library improvements) and Parker Penny (who handles park and recreational improvements).

“We’re all waiting to see the results of all our Penny family here in DeKalb County,” DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader said. “We appreciate the administration for giving [SPLOST] a face and a theme. We’re building momentum and the Penny family is helping us do that. We hope that the family grows.”

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