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Commissioners hear about proposed transportation tax
The Liberty County Courthouse is on Main Street in downtown Hinesville. - photo by File photo

The Liberty County Commission is studying House Bill 134, a measure that would allow a single county to hold its own referendum to implement a special local option sales tax for transportation.

State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, one of the bill’s sponsors, talked with the commissioners by telephone at their meeting Tuesday. State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, who represents part of Liberty County, also sponsored HB 134.

Williams told commissioners his bill is still moving through the General Assembly and could be amended, but that he feels it is an opportunity for Liberty County.

"We will not be held hostage by other counties around us," Williams said.

A statewide vote in 2012 asked voters in each of 12 regions to authorize the same type of tax. Liberty, Long and Bryan counties approved the sales tax, but other counties in the region did not, so the tax could not be collected.

Since then, county commissioners have been asking for a measure like HB 134 to allow single counties or groups of counties to hold their own referenda to impose the tax for transportation.

Supporters of the extra tax spent $8 million trying to convince Georgians to approve the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax in 2012, but only three of the state’s 12 regions voted yes. The state NAACP and the Sierra Club joined with Georgia tea party activists in opposing the 2012 TSPLOST.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners approved a zoning exception to allow Sanford Carter to establish a pet crematory on his property at 965 McIntosh Lake Road.

After a presentation by engineer Paul Simonton, the city of Riceboro was given permission to use the county right-of-way along Barrington Ferry Road for a water line.

The county has extended its contract with Crowder Gulf, the storm debris removal company. The commissioners have a "when needed" agreement with Crowder Gulf so that when a storm or other emergency arises they will not be looking for firms to help, nor negotiating terms when time is short.

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