The three cities and County want to ask Camden County voters to impose a new SPLOST 8 sales tax to fund new projects amid the backdrop of financial mismanagement from current elected officials and authorities.
The three cities and the county have finally agreed and approved final language to present to the voters on a March 2019 ballot for a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
The Camden County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the SPLOST 8 language and the approved project list among the PSA, the County, and the three cities. The deadline was to be completed by December 15 in order for the ballot language to be created. The City of Kingsland wants a clearer agreement for the PSA while the new PSA Director promises more checks and balances from the organization.
In addition, the City of Woodbine voted to advance the agreement for SPLOST 8, but local news reports detail that Woodbine’s City Council will openly campaign against the SPLOST 8 tax due to negligent management from the PSA Board members.
Kingsland wants a cleaner copy of the PSA agreement –
In recent weeks, the cities and the county have wrestled with the agreement surrounding the funding of the Public Service Authority (PSA). The PSA is funded by the general fund accounts of all respective municipalities based on population; however, that has come up for debate as the Kingsland wanted to fund via a tax digest model.
On Monday, the City of Kingsland voted to approve the ballot language but needed further clarification about the intergovernmental agreement concerning the funding in the future. The PSA Board met on Monday at 12:30 pm to approve the agreement to send to the cities to sign. The agreement had not been updated since 2004.
The proposed agreement provides for mutual and reciprocal rights, duties, obligations, and perform performance related to the consolidated leisure services functions of the Camden
County Public Service Authority.
Kingsland Council Grayson Day received a draft copy of the agreement over the weekend and stated in the Council meeting that a final copy and version should be reviewed before considering any action.
“This just does not bode well in establishing transparency for the public,” said Day. “I would encourage PSA to bring us a clean copy as soon as possible to weigh in on something this important.”
Day asked the new PSA Director Joey Cason to update the Council who was in attendance.
Cason stated that Kingsland City Manager has asked for some changes to the documented presented to the Council.
“The main issue that is remaining in the document is if there were a drop in revenues how would [the PSA] adjust it’s budget so that we were not going to cause any stress on any of the governments that fund PSA. We have agreed to do what is possible to adhere that in the event that one of the cities, or the county, lose revenue, [the PSA] would adjust our budget,” said Cason.
Cason also stated that there will be additional checks and balances within the new agreement. One of the new areas of checks and balances is on SPLOST revenues. In the proposed document (see below) it states a separate account will be created for SPLOST related projects for the PSA to prevent illegally mixing of funds which were done in the past under the former executive director William Brunson and the PSA Board’s oversight as reported by AllOnGeorgia. The new PSA director also said the cities will be getting monthly reports from the PSA on the financial management of the PSA as well in the future.
From the document –
County SPLOST Fund; Separate Accounts: No Commingling: A special fund or account shall be created by the County and designated as the 2019 Camden County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Fund (“SPLOST Fund”).
Each Municipality and the PSA shall create a special fund to be designated as the 2019 (City of Kingsland, or City of St. Marys or City of Woodbine, or Public Service Authority) Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Fund – 2019 #8. Each Municipality and the PSA shall select a local bank which shall act as a depository and custodian of the SPLOST proceeds received by each municipality upon such terms and conditions as may be acceptable to the Municipality.
Three Cities and County approve March 2019 SPLOST ballot language before the Camden County voters:
Over the last few weeks, each of the three cities and the County have now agreed to finalize their votes to ask the tax payers of Camden County to fund a new sales tax. The SPLOST 7 tax ends on June 30th, 2019.
Camden County –
The County and all three cities would like to use the new SPLOST-8 sales tax revenue, if approved by the voters, to finance a potential $10,250,000 in countywide projects of the life of the new SPLOST 8 sales tax collection, typically 6 years.
Below is a schedule for the new SPLOST 8 sales tax –
Part of the “wish list” for the County and the Cities is to possibly approve the construction of a state-of-the-art 12,000 square feet Emergency Management – 911 facility possibly located near Exit-7 off I-95. The expected cost for the new EMA-911 center is about $6.1 million. The sales pitch from EMA director Chuck White states it will be critical to have a central location during major emergency events. However, this only covers the cost of the construction of the new building, not the land, road, and utilities along with fiber optics estimates to be around $200,000.
The cost of the new EMA-911 center looks to be a multi-purpose facility housing other agencies possibly the Department of Health, EMS, or law enforcement. This is still a proposal at this time which is contingent upon the voters’ approval. All three cities and the county will be expected to contribute $2.1 million each in SPLOST funds to the new center if an appropriate amount of revenue is collected over the 6 year period (more details listed in the document below).
Public Service Authority Board –
In addition, the PSA Board is asking for $3 million dollars to upgrade parks, facilities, and other facility upgrades that were neglected by previous leadership and the PSA Board.
Kingsland is expected to have a project list to be completed that will cost $12.3 million. Most of the cities money looks to mitigate flood and drainage issues.
St. Marys –
St. Marys is proposing about $13.3 million in projects and a large portion of that $13.3 million is $9.6 million for the building of the water-sewer infrastructure years ago before the economic recession.
Woodbine is proposing over $1.6 million in construction where most of the money looks to rehabilitate bridges, sidewalks, water-sewer projects, and flood mitigation.
Below is the entire document of the SPLOST 8 agreement and project totals. The voters are expected to vote on SPLOST 8 in March 2019.SPLOST intergovernmental agreement Final (2)