Glynn County commissioners voted Thursday to proceed with the preliminary work on a proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2021.
It would be a follow-up to the 2016 SPLOST, a 1 percent sales tax that ended in September. They dropped initial plans to seek a new SPLOST this year when the COVID-19 outbreak hit Georgia, but the local economic outlook is beginning to look better, said Commissioner David O’Quinn.
County Attorney Aaron Mumford said the county can hold a SPLOST referendum in March or November 2021. To hold a special election in March county officials would need to meet with the Brunswick City Commission at least once to hammer out some details before the end of December.
A draft letter to the city suggests holding a joint meeting on Dec. 1.
Because three of the seven commissioners will be replaced in January, the current commission is essentially teeing up a SPLOST for the next group.
“This current (commission) is giving the next (commission) the ability to make that decision, with guidance from the city and the community,” O’Quinn said.
The other three local governing bodies — the city, Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission and Jekyll Island Authority — seem to be on board.
Commissioner Wayne Neal, who also serves on the JWSC, said they have already begun preliminary discussions of SPLOST. JIA Executive Director Jones Hooks sent an email to commissioners saying they’re also on board.
“We’re not starting from scratch,” O’Quinn said. “We have a list that was put together for a possible 2020. We’ll be working from that mainly.”
In interviews with The News on Monday, Neal and incoming Commissioners Cap Fendig, Walter Rafolski and Sammy Tostensen said they were interested in a short SPLOST tightly focused on immediate infrastructure repairs and preliminary engineering and designs for larger projects down the road.
Commissioners voted unanimously to move ahead with a joint city-county conference on the issue. The commission also voted to use the Selden Park gymnasium as a courthouse annex.
According to county documents, restrictions on courtroom usage imposed by the Georgia Supreme Court to slow the spread of COVID-19 has tied the local court system’s hands, and it needs more room to conduct business. A committee of judges, local health officials and others found the Selden Park gym to adequately meet the court system’s needs.
In other business, a development impact fee ordinance was tabled for the time being and commissioners approved more stringent litter regulations.
After a roughly hour-long closed session discussion, commissioners voted unanimously to accept attorney Mumford’s recommendations in regards to pending and potential litigation.