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Some SPLOST thoughts
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The special election is over and the 2011 SPLOST has passed


There’ll be no loss in continuity in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, so there will be funding for much-needed infrastructure improvements such as expanding the emergency room at Newton Medical Center and roadwork, and in paying off government debt.

It was a no-brainer, but it was closer than it needed to be.

While it wasn’t by a razor-thin margin, as in Cobb County where SPLOST passed by 79 votes, our SPLOST was approved by a 317-vote margin, or with 54 percent of voters. That was the lowest-ever margin of victory for a local SPLOST: In 1995, SPLOST passed with 78.6 of the vote; the 2000 SPLOST passed with 62 percent, and the 2005 SPLOST garnered 63.7 percent of the vote.

Accolades are due to Denny Dobbs and other community leaders who shepherded the SPLOST to fruition in a difficult environment. There was much anger out there over taxes at all levels of government, and there was special ire locally over how this SPLOST was handled and packaged by county government.

In an era of belt-tightening, county commission members failed to prepare a lean, clean SPLOST. People were perturbed with the inclusions of such items as an agricultural facility, recreation projects and a multi-use facility in the package.

Still, commonsense prevailed and more voters held their collective noses and voted yes than not.

That’s where Dobbs’ group came in, hammering home the message that SPLOST is crucial to Newton County’s future. Thanks to all of them.

Now, we hope county commissioners have learned some lessons.

Madame Chairman Kathy Morgan has already indicated that she has considered some changes in the process, such as starting sooner in compiling the list, and for groups seeking funds to fill out forms that would provide information on future maintenance and operation costs and the purpose of the project.

It’s a shame that leadership wasn’t there on the front end of this SPLOST, but maybe some groundwork will be laid for the future.