Chatham Co. lawmakers putting together sales tax package - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham lawmakers putting together sales tax package

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Garden City's City Hall Garden City's City Hall

Chatham County lawmakers are trying to come up with a list of capital projects attractive enough that it will entice taxpayers to hand over a penny on the dollar.

In a hearing at the Chatham County Administration building on Bull Street, cities got the chance to pitch their ideas for projects to be funded with a one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The SPLOST proposal will be on the November ballot.

Pooler making a push to expand their recreation facility off Pooler Parkway -- built with funds from the last round of SPLOST, which voters approved in 2008. City leaders are hoping to add a stadium to the park and additional ball fields. They're also looking to build a new police headquarters and to put a new layer of asphalt on Pooler Parkway.

Garden City made a pitch to have taxpayers pay off the city's $720,000 annual debt service for a new city hall and police headquarters off Dean Forest Road. City leaders also are looking to re-pave Chatham Parkway from U.S. 17 to Interstate 16, to build a new fire station on U.S. 17 and to replace their fire tanker truck. The existing tanker was manufactured in 1964.

One big ticket item on the 2008 round of SPLOST was the construction of an arena in downtown Savannah to replace the aging civic center. But that was before the economy took a downturn. City leaders were looking to bonds to fund about half that cost, but that was before credit markets dried up.

The down economy also meant sales tax revenue came in lower than expected, and the City Council decided to fully fund smaller drainage and police projects instead of building the arena.

The Savannah City Council is planning a workshop to finalize its list of SPLOST projects – and the arena, civic center upgrades or a similar alternative is expected to be on their SPLOST wish list.

Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott says the county doesn't have any big items on their SPLOST list. This after the lion's share of 2008 SPLOST went to renovating and expanding the Chatham County Jail.

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