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SPLOST funding will impact Newtons cities

In addition for funding Newton County projects such as transportation and the Yellow River Trail, the 2017 SPLOST vote Tuesday will also have impact on the county’s cities.

In the Town of Newborn, Mayor Gregg Ellwanger said SPLOST funds will go toward building a lighted basketball court and pavilion in the park. Ellwanger said the project would not only benefit the town’s youth, but would also be good for adults who still like to get out and shoot some hoops. The mayor said if that the SPLOST fails, the project would negatively impacted.

Ellwanger said that 35 to 40 percent of Newborn’s SPLOST funds will go toward transportation projects like sidewalk expansion, and that those funds are eligible for matching funds from the state. Ellwanger also said that funds from the 2011 SPLOST allowed the town to renovate the Historic Newborn Schoolhouse. Money from the 2017 vote will allow the town to complete the project, according to the mayor.

According to Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson, money from the SPLOST will go toward the city’s municipal building. Thomson said the building will make operations more efficient for citizens and be more compatible with the downtown area. He also said SPLOST funds will also be used for improvements such as lighting and a sound system, as well as a cover for the stage at the Porter Memorial Gymnasium. SPLOST money will also go toward trails and overlooks at Yellow River Park, as well as benches and swings along the river and an accessible kayak launch.

Thomson said that the city has a lot of vehicles with a lot of miles and needs new rolling stock- trucks, bulldozers, trailers and backhoes, etc. - to maintain the city’s roads, curbs and gutters and parks. SPLOST money will go toward that. Thomson said a loss of SPLOST would impact the city’s ability to maintain that fleet.

City of Covington City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said the SPLOST is very important to her city. Though the city receives federal and state grants for some projects, SPLOST revenues are a huge asset.  According to Knight, SPLOST funds help the city with completing transportation, sanitary services and public safety projects to benefit Covington’s citizens. Without SPLOST, Knight said, a large portion of those projects would never come to fruition.

The Newton County SPLOST vote is Tuesday, March 21. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.