The Jackson County Commission approved two proposals Monday afternoon to try and solve its financial problem.
The proposals are the same as the resolution approved on Feb. 24. The first proposal is a one-cent sales tax to be voted on by the citizens of the county. The second is a half-cent sales tax that would also be voted on by Jackson County citizens if approved by the legislative delegation. District 4 Commissioner Mike Sisk voted against the one-cent proposal and abstained to vote on the half-cent proposal.
District 2 Commissioner Jason Venable sponsored the resolution in February. District 1 Commissioner Danny Rich proposed the half-cent option on Monday. The resolution says that half of the revenue for the first four years would be divided among Jackson County municipalities on a per capita basis using the same population that applies to the distribution of the municipal portion of the TVA in lieu of revenue.
Any and all revenue received by these municipalities from this new source may only be used for expenditures related to roadway development and maintenance in/or around the said municipality.
The remaining portion for the same four years would be retained by Jackson County and a sum of no less than 75% to be spent only on expenditures related to the development, repair or maintenance of roadways. Up to 12 and a half percent would go to support Jackson County Council on Aging, rural transportation and Senior Rx programs.
The remaining portion would be restricted in use only to expenditures related to operation of the Jackson County Jail or maintenance of Jackson County buildings.
Following the four-year distribution period ending, the first $1.5 million (or up to ¼ of one cent) would be placed into a fund to support 50/50 roadway projects between Jackson County and municipalities within its borders.
This would have to be approved by the Jackson County Legislative Delegation. The remaining revenue would be retained by Jackson County and held to the same distribution restrictions as the first four years.
Venable said the biggest complaint he heard in 2015 after the one-cent sales tax was voted against was that it was not earmarked.
“Every bit of this is earmarked. Personally, I think there are enough changes in it for people to vote for it,” said Venable.
Sisk made a motion to approve a special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) to send to the legislative delegation, but his motion received no seconds and failed. Sisk’s proposal had $250,000 going to the Sheriff’s Office, $250,000 to volunteer fire departments and the rest going to road and bridge repair in the county.