The Liberty County Commissioners began their mid month meeting Thursday by expressing pleasure that voters had approved a new additional one-cent special local option sales tax in this month’s election.
Actual collection of the tax will start on April Fools Day next year because of provisions of state law. On that date businesses in Liberty County will begin charging seven percent on all sales instead of the six percent being charged now.
Commission Chairman Donald Lovette praised his fellow commissioners, elected officials and others who had worked for the approval of the additional tax. Several commissioners chimed in that voters had also approved another four-year term for Lovette, who had faced a Republican challenger.
Lovette credited Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Leah Poole and her staff for their work promoting the SPLOST. The new tax will fund projects throughout the county such as road improvements, public safety equipment and vehicles, a city hall/government building for Midway, improvements to the county’s 911 system and a new animal shelter.
Projected revenue from the tax over the six years of its life is $54 million, part of which will go toward debt for the Justice Center. County officials will be meeting with mayors and council members from each municipality to reach an agreement on the cities’ share of the tax income.
In other business, the commissioners named Matthew Barrow to a vacant seat on the Liberty County Development Authority as well as reappointing state Rep. Al Williams to the LCDA.
Six nominees were needed for seats on the Liberty County Hospital Authority, but the commissioners had received only two applications for the two posts. The applicants were incumbents Stephanie Osteen and former Hinesville Mayor James Thomas Jr.; the commission voted to send their names to the hospital authority.
The county commission is still seeking applications from citizens interested in serving on the Coastal Workforce Investment Board and the advisory committee of the Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Mike Hodges, emergency management director, gave the commissioners an update on recovery from Hurricane Matthew. He said residents with questions about debris cleanup should call his office at 912-368-2201.
County Engineer Trent Long advised the commissioners that about $100,000 remains to be spent this year from the county’s 2016 Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant from the Department of Transportation. The commission plans to act on that and the 2017 LMIG projects at their December meeting.