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SPLOST money will help cities

In addition to funding county projects like improvements to the Newton County 9-1-1 center, the Newton County 2017 SPLOST vote will also impact the county’s cities, according to the mayors of Mansfield and Oxford.

Oxford’s Mayor Jerry Roseberry told The News about the impact the 2011 SPLOST had on his city. Roseberry said the city used money from the last SPLOST to replace a leaking, 90-year-old water main. According to Roseberry, the cost of replacing the main was $1.2 million. Had the 2011 SPLOST funds not been available, Oxford would have had to borrow the money.

Replacing the water main would have cost the Oxford’s water customers $160 a year over 10 years as the loan was paid back, according to the mayor.

Roseberry said Oxford will use funds from the 2017 SPLOST to extend the city’s sewer system and eliminate septic tanks on smaller residential lots in the city. He also said that if the SPLOST succeeds, the money will go to help with transportation, specifically streets and sidewalks, and a new park. The city will also replace an aging police car and equipment.

Another of the cities that has been impacted by SPLOST is the City of Mansfield, where Mayor Jefferson Riley says projects that have been started or are planned might have to be put on hold if the SPLOST fails. Riley said over the last three years, the city has paved sidewalks, installed streetlights and improved city structures.

Riley said 2017 SPLOST funds will be used to build Mansfield’s City Center project.  The mayor said the project will include a pavilion and that the Newton Trail Project will pass through it. According to Riley, SPLOST money will be used for the trail as well. He also said Mansfield is in the process of re-establishing a police department and without SPLOST funds, the new service might have to be put on hold.

Riley said that the 2017 SPLOST is not a new tax, but rather an extension of the current one-cent tax. He also said that regardless of what has happened previously at the county level, Newton County’s cities are doing a good job.  

Riley also said with the new Board of Commissioners (BOC) and chairman, along with the cooperation between the BOC and the cities, things are improving in the county.

“It’s a new day in Newton County,” he said.

The Newton County SPLOST election is Tuesday, March 21. Early voting continues at the Newton County Administration Building through Friday, March 17.