For the third time, Glynn County and Brunswick officials threw a party, and hardly anyone showed up.
On Monday, county and city commissioners — as well as the Glynn Brunswick Joint Water and Sewer Commission — hosted the third of four public hearings on SPLOST ahead of a referendum in the general election on Nov. 8.
For Glynn County voters, that’s an important decision. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax would raise about $71.5 million through a temporary one percent sales tax for key projects should the SPLOST be approved in the special election.
Only a handful of county residents showed up at the most recent town hall meetings. Unfortunately, that’s not at all surprising; people rarely attend such informational sessions in large numbers — even though in this instance, the projects will offer some significant improvements to the community.
Glynn County will receive $40.4 million, primarily for roads drainage and sidewalks and intersection improvement projects scheduled for St. Simons Island. A veterans memorial park on county property in downtown Brunswick would incorporate other parks, and a new Glynn County Animal Control center would be constructed.
Brunswick would receive $13.8 million for engineering and public works projects, such as sidewalks, parks and rainwater drainage improvements. SPLOST would also provide funding for new police and fire department vehicles and other equipment.
The Brunswick Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission would receive $15 million for expansions to the county’s sewer system on the north mainland area. The funding also would replace a substantial portion of Brunswick’s aging sewer system. On Jekyll Island, $2.3 million would help to repave 10 miles of roads.
The proposed sales tax offers the county a chance to fund many improvements that will benefit all residents. Some projects, like the veterans memorial park, new vehicles and the animal shelter will be easily visible to the public. Others may not be visible, but are critically needed to improve and add infrastructure in many ways.
The cost to implement SPLOST would actually be a bargain for county residents, according to a UGA Carl Vinson Institute study. Glynn County’s islands are enormously popular tourist destinations, so much of the revenue will come from visitors who flock to the area for vacations, the study said, to the tune of nearly 60 percent.
Because of Hurricane Matthew, a town hall meeting had to be canceled on Oct. 11. The final of the four town hall’s could be scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27. The News will announce the date and the site when they are available.
It makes sense to support the measure during the general election given its apparent benefits. If you are undecided or have questions, get answers by attending the last town hall meeting.