Sales tax extension vital for boosting Albany, Dougherty County economy, backers say

Sales tax extension vital for boosting Albany, Dougherty County economy, backers say

Nov. 2—ALBANIA — The flurry of political TV advertisements and texts showing in current weeks are principally about huge races just like the gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and congressional campaigns. But past the polls, Dougherty County voters can have a alternative that is nearer to dwelling.

The concern of whether or not to increase a 1% special-purpose native choice gross sales tax for one other six years might present funding for numerous initiatives, together with enhancements to Albany’s wastewater system and ambulances for Albany’s Emergency Medical Service. the district. And, for the reason that penny gross sales tax is paid primarily by out-of-town guests who store and keep in Albany, it helps ease the burden on property taxes and costs.

Some of that cash might be used to enhance native sights just like the Albany Civil Rights Institute, Chehaw Park & ​​Zoo, Flint RiverQuarium and the Thronateeska Heritage Center, which can convey in additional guests and vacationers — and their {dollars}. tax – within the space. mentioned Rashelle Minix, government director of the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau.

City of Albany and Dougherty County officers have earmarked tax {dollars} for these entities for a tax enlargement that’s anticipated to lift greater than $100 million over six years.

“The Civil Rights Institute opened and Thronateeska opened their planetarium in 2008, as well as the visitor center,” she mentioned. “All those projects were part of SPLOST (in fact) at the time.”

Some of those amenities now want some spending on renovations and enhancements to maintain them enticing and capable of convey guests again to Albany, she mentioned.

“SPLOST does not burden taxpayers,” Minix mentioned. “It doesn’t charge attractions for issuing bonds. The only way to increase tourism and get people to come from other countries is to improve our attractions. We need to make it where we are maintaining and constantly putting in new ones. attractions. People coming in from out of town are bringing in sales tax dollars.

The tax also funds things that aren’t fun, like a zoo, but are of great importance.

“A whole lot of these initiatives should be funded, issues like hearth (vans) and EMS should be funded,” Minix said. “If they don’t seem to be funded by SPLOST, they need to simply be funded by native (property) taxes.”

Sales tax funds will also be used for downtown improvements, and governments have effectively used other sales tax initiatives in the past to improve streets and sidewalks, which also help make for a better experience for out-of-town guests. , said the CVB director. .

Among the county’s projects is $1 million in funding for an industrial park.

While Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission President and CEO Jana Dyke said she is not allowed to give a position on the SPLOST question, she did address the need for locations for industries in the county.

“As it’s, we proceed to get inquiries about industrial house that’s out there due to the quantity of exercise that’s occurring proper now,” she said. “Our group has very restricted cupboard space and (industrial) product that can be utilized.”

In the Pecan Grove Industrial Park, there is only one large area consisting of 80 contiguous acres, which would not be sufficient for a large-scale project.

“Right now, the merchandise which might be wanted are so huge that we will not compete,” Dyke said. “People locally, sadly, consider we will develop the outdated Cooper Tire web site or different amenities, which we will not. They’re owned by different folks and we will not develop on the positioning and they aren’t serious about promoting.”

Community improvements also include investments in police cars, storm drainage, roads and bridges and improvements to recreation facilities, according to the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. This includes nearly $36 million in infrastructure; $34 million for recreation, attractions and economic development; $24 million for public safety and $15.58 million for health, community and operational improvements.

Almost half of the revenue is generated by visitors, said Chamber president and CEO Barbera Rivera Holmes, increasing the impact of money spent in the county and limiting the burden on taxpayers.

“SPLOST is critically necessary to the financial and group improvement of Albany and Dougherty County, supporting the assets that assist our companies succeed, offering the standard of life our residents take pleasure in, and strengthening the facilities and belongings that entice newcomers and guests, she mentioned. . “The renewal of this 1% sales tax will generate $109.56 million in projects and improvements that impact public safety, job creation, infrastructure, vital community services, recreation and more.”

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