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The SPLOST 22 referendum will be placed on the November 8th General Election ballot.
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The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) law was enacted in 1985 at the request of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). The SPLOST was conceived and enacted as a county tax for funding capital projects.
Everyone who makes a purchase within Glynn County will have the 1% sales tax on their purchase. An estimated 44% will be paid by visitors who travel and stay in our area annually.
The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) sales tax will be imposed for six years if the referendum passes.
The Glynn County Board of Commissioners created this list following community listening sessions, town hall meetings, consultant advisory meetings, financial analysis, and examining feedback from the Community Sentiment Survey.
If excess SPLOST funds are collected and all referendum approved Tier 1 projects have been funded, then projects from the referendum approved Tier 2 list as prioritized by the Glynn County Board of Commissioners may be selected for implementation.
SPLOST projects and financial reports are found on the Glynn County website, www.glynncounty.org/SPLOST. The proposed SPLOST 2022 list can be found on www.100percentImpact4Glynn.com.
This project was presented to the Board of Commissioners on May 17. It was the culmination of a traffic study done by Kimley-Horne regarding traffic flow and safety standards for traffic coming onto and leaving the island.
The project in a shortened version: The St. Simons Island (SSI) Gateway, located in Glynn County, Georgia, is the primary entrance to St. Simons Island and is comprised of the intersections of FJ Torras Causeway (the Causeway), Kings Way, Sea Island Road, and Demere Road. This area experiences congestion during AM, Mid-day (MD), and PM peak hours that now persists all year-round.
The gateway’s present design features a stop light at Sea Island Road and Demere Road which:
a) backs up traffic coming onto the island
b) backs up traffic leaving the island on Demere Road.
In addition, there is a stop sign for Kings Way travelers at Sea Island Road, which makes it difficult for travelers to merge onto Sea Island Road.
This project will eliminate the stop sign at King’s Way and Sea Island Road and the traffic light at Sea Island and Demere roads by creating a traditional two-lane roundabout. A flyover bridge is also proposed to be constructed on Sea Island Road over Demere Road where the two now intersect.
Question: The next largest line item is $11.7M for a Public Safety Multiuse Facility for Emergency Operations, Communications Continuity of Operations Center, and First Responder Training Center. Can you explain the rationale for building this new center and why current facilities aren’t adequate?
Answer: The past 2 years have shown us the importance of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during storms as well as climates of heightened public safety conditions (trials) in our area. The EOC serves a critical role in every phase of emergency management, from being the hub for all coordination during an incident to facilitating and directing recovery, clean-up, and reconstitution. As our community has grown, so have the needs for operations during an emergency.
The current EOC is in the center of the public safety building and does not allow responders to coordinate as defined by FEMA design standards due to the lack of breakout rooms for staff members to utilize for collaborative operational planning. The new facility would be a category 3 storm rated building that will include offices for the current Emergency Management Authority staff allowing the facility to be always ready for operations. The facility would also include areas for first responders to sleep, shower and cook during activations.
The facility would further serve a dual role and be used as a training facility and meeting location when not in use for emergency operations. Additional bays attached to the EOC would allow the county boats and a mobile command vehicle to be secured and stored undercover. The bays would also provide storage for bulk items needed in a disaster response such as sandbags, traffic control devices and additional rescue equipment.
Included in this scope is also to provide the Information Technology Department (IT) a new datacenter and a network operations center (NOC). This will be an upgraded 900 square foot datacenter taking the place of the current center housed in the Pate Building. Moving servers and networking hardware from its current location will establish a more secure facility, removes flood zone concerns, and allows for a reduced threat of breakdown in business and communications continuity during an emergency.
If collections surpass the $130 million mark, the Tier 2 allocations are only to the County, City of Brunswick and Joint Water and Sewer. There are no Tier 2 projects for EDA, JIA, or the Airport Commission.
Question: Can you explain your process for determining the current cost estimates for your project lists? Have you already secured bids or quotes? In the past, actual costs for SPLOST projects have far exceeded the initial estimates (e.g., Veterans Memorial Park, new county Animal Services building).
Answer:Gude Management Group is the project management firm hired by the Glynn County Board of Commissioners as a consultant in the SPLOST preparation process. Gude is also the agency of record for the ESPLOST with the Glynn County Board of Education. The BOE has worked with Gude on its ESPLOST initiatives for the last few referendums. The Board of Commissioners saw the experience and success Gude has had in Glynn County as an asset to help plan for the proposed SPLOST referendum.
Part of the scope of work our consultants, GUDE, were charged with was determining each project cost estimate. Considering the current status of supply chain issues and cost increases/decreases with labor and materials, an inflation escalator was built into each project estimate. Project management was evaluated when scoping the estimates for a complete budget figure to present to the public.
Yes, SPLOST is intended to fund capital outlay projects, which can include software. A Capital Outlay project must be a major, permanent, or long-lived improvement or betterment that would be properly chargeable to a capital asset account, as distinguished from current expenditures and ordinary maintenance expenses. Software can be a major and/or long-lived betterment that can be charged to a capital asset account, which would qualify it as an eligible capital outlay project
Projects will be managed in various ways, both by hiring outside project management on large/complex projects as well as internal county management on smaller projects. Timing of projects will be contingent upon several things, such as supply and contractor availability, available funds, permitting, etc. The County is committed to moving through these projects as the funding becomes available. We are also looking to bond some of the larger projects to ensure we can obtain today’s pricing and be able to get the projects out for bid without having to wait for full funding. SPLOST is a monthly revenue and will be collected over 6 years. There will be some Tier 1 projects that will be started in the coming years once funding is received. Not all SPLOST projects begin on day one. All Tier 1 projects will be fully funded prior to any Tier 2 projects being considered. As mentioned in briefings, Glynn County will hold quarterly status updates on all SPLOST projects that will be open to the public for transparency.
Project timelines will be communicated throughout the SPLOST with the public through our website, reporting and information provided by the Project Manager. Estimated timelines will vary depending on scope of project as well as the complexity.
Question: Though Georgia State law does allow the use of the SPLOST process to purchase capital equipment such as fire trucks, etc.... Why are we doing it this way? Why aren't these items part of the annual Capital Projects? Does this mean if the referendum is defeated, that these pieces of equipment will not be purchased?
Answer: These items are generally purchased using our property taxes, but the state allows these items to be purchased through SPLOST. We do not collect enough through our property taxes to take care of all the equipment needs public safety has, as these purchases must be balanced with other needs throughout the County as well as operations. A fire truck can cost around $1M, and we collect approximately $2.4M annually from capital project millage, which must be split between all capital project needs, including drainage, public safety equipment, parks & recreation improvements, road and bridge improvements, and other capital needs.
Question: Where is the annual forecast for this revenue and who developed it? The total amount for Tier 1 & 2 is almost $170 million dollars over 6 years. However, the amount of revenue forecasted with the LOST, which is also a 1% tax for the past 6 years, has only been some $93 million dollars.
Answer: The revenue collections were estimated by our Chief Financial Officer, in conjunction with two economists at the College of Coastal Georgia, as well as input from Gude, our outside SPLOST consultants. The range of tax collected estimated was between $1.85M to $ 2.4M. Glynn County used the low end of the monthly estimate to establish the Tier 1 amount: $133M and the high end to determine the Tier 2 amount: $170M. The Tier 1 amount represents the projects the County (and all partners) must fund and complete. Tier 2 projects will only begin if SPLOST revenue collects more that the Tier 1 amount.
By comparison, LOST collections for the County and City over the last 6 years have totaled $151M. The State of Georgia started implementing a sales tax on all internet purchases, which has increased collections monthly. In FY22, we collected $32M between the County & the City. Assuming no growth at all if everything stayed flat, we would collect $192M over six years, so it is clear the six-year SPLOST estimates are conservative, in case of an economic turndown in the economy.
Also, by comparison, E-SPLOST has collected $32.4 million in FY21/22 with an average of $2.7 million collected per month. In July 2022, E-SPLOST collected $3.2 million.
Tier 1 projects will be completed first. The order of priority will be based on funding, scope of work and timelines for each project. All Tier 1 projects will be fully funded and obligated before any Tier 2 projects can be considered. If collections of SPLOST surpass the projected 133 million, then Tier 2 projects will be reviewed and planned out.