The Liberty County Commission approved the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax resolution at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
County Attorney Kelly Davis informed the board that the resolution authorizes the re-imposition of the 1-cent tax, pending voter approval in November.
Davis also told the board that the resolution authorizes the county to incur up to $10 million in debt prior to the collection of the tax revenue, if voters choose to pass it.
“Many of your projects will have revenue needs in advance of the actual revenue, which will come in,” Davis said. “Oftentimes, it is the case that the county will incur debt in anticipation of revenue in order to properly fund the projects.”
The current SPLOST period runs until March 31, 2015. If passed, SPLOST VI would start April 1, making a seamless transition between the tax periods. Taxpayers would see no actual increase in tax, as SPLOST VI simply would be a continuation of the current tax.
The board also approved a resolution to apply for the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing as a consortium, along with the county’s seven municipalities.
According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website, the GICH “offers communities a three-year program of collaboration and technical assistance related to housing and community development.”
“The obligation to the county and to the municipalities is to participate — to go to the meetings,” said Jeff Ricketson, executive director of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission. “They have two retreats a year, the purpose of which is to share what other communities are doing in the way of housing and encouraging new housing and redevelopment.”
Ricketson said the only cost to the county would be travel expenses related to the retreats, which are held in participating cities across the state.
Ricketson told the board that Allenhurst passed the resolution on Monday, and that Hinesville Assistant City Manager Kenny Howard was presenting it to Riceboro at their monthly meeting, which coincided with the county’s. Ricketson said Hinesville would consider the resolution at its Thursday council meeting.
The application deadline is Sept. 5.
Permits and licensing
The board also heard an update on growth in the county from Director of Building and Licensing Paul Zechman.
“The yard stick that I like to measure growth by is single-family homes and commercial buildings,” Zechman said.
He informed the board that in 2012, 55 single-family home permits and four commercial business permits were issued, compared to 61 single-family home and three commercial business permits issued in 2013.
Zechman said that so far in 2014, 38 single-family home permits and four commercial business permits have been issued. If the permit requests continue this pattern, Zechman said, the county is on track to issue 76 single-family home permits for the year.
“I feel like we’re moving forward,” he said. “I see things going on in Liberty County as far as commercial buildings, and I see people coming in wanting to build houses as opposed to just adding on and closing in garages, so that’s a positive step.”
Zechman also mentioned the new McDonald’s in Midway, stating that the contractors estimate a completion date of Sept. 15, and that the company has targeted Oct. 15 as the opening date.
In other business, the commission:
• approved a request to rezone 1.22 acres of land from general-commercial to agricultural-residential to allow a church at 49 North Bypass Road.
• approved a special exception to allow a homeowner to give piano lessons from her home at 116 Village Drive.
• re-voted to accept Faithland Road for county maintenance. Although the commission voted to accept the road at its July 1 meeting, the vote was null because only four commissioners were present, and a majority vote must be the majority of the total board, not just a majority of the quorum present, according to County Administrator Joey Brown. The motion passed by a vote of four to two, with commissioners Gary Gilliard and Eddie Walden opposed.