The group, comprised of 11 members and Chairman David Newby, was given information on how state law regulates 1-cent special purpose, local option sales tax and some history on past referendums.
“I have not been in a community where there is such a great cooperation between the citizens and the cities and county,” Newby said. “The people here understand this is a very important committee and we must choose the programs and projects that will benefits the needs of this community.”
For most of the next three to four months, the committee will hear proposals from the elected boards of Cave Spring, Rome, and Floyd County as well as residents on what should be a part of the proposed SPLOST package.
A questionnaire that residents will be asked to fill out and turn in to the committee to request specific projects is expected to be finalized and made public, including online, after next week.
The committee will then work to create a recommended list of projects to be funded.
“This is not an easy committee to be a part of,” Rome Mayor Evie McNiece said. “But it is one of the most rewarding you’ll ever serve on.”
Interim County Manager Gary Burkhalter made the members aware that the deadline to come up with a list is Aug. 26. The county will then have to work to meet certain deadlines in order to get the referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot.
A summary of past SPLOST referendums was given by Rome City Manager John Bennett, who has been a part of each one of them since the first one in 1986.
“I think we need to recognize as a committee the fact that all of the counties around us — Chattooga, Gordon, Polk, and Bartow — all have SPLOSTs,” Bennett said.
“They are making an investment in their communities. If you look around the state, the success rate of SPLOST referendums passing is still very high. That tells you that people are willing to make that investment.”