Walker County voters approved a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) on Nov. 7, 2017, by an overwhelming margin. On Sunday, April 1, local businesses will start collecting the additional penny tax to help fund road and bridge projects.
The sales tax rate in Walker County will change from 7 percent to 8 percent for most goods and services. Here's a breakdown of how that 8% tax is figured.
4 percent – Georgia State Sales Tax (increased from 3% to 4% on April 1, 1989)
1 percent – LOST (local option sales tax took effect on April 1, 1976)
1 percent – SPLOST ("special purpose" local option sales tax took effect on October 1, 2014 and ends on September 30, 2020)
1 percent – ELOST (education local option sales tax took effect on July 7, 2017 and ends on June 30, 2022)
1 percent – TSPLOST (transportation special purpose local option sales tax takes effect on April 1, 2018 and ends on March 31, 2023)
While TSPLOST will start being collected in April, it will be late summer before Walker County starts receiving the funds. With that in mind, Walker County is targeting fall 2018 to tackle the first TSPLOST funded projects.
There are 674 miles of road in Walker County. An engineering firm will be evaluating each road and assigning a grade on a scale of 1 to 100, based on Georgia Department of Transportation specifications. The assessment will cover both paving quality and safety of our roads and bridges. Once the study is complete, the data will be added to the county's GIS system to map and color code roads by their grade.
This process will also show officials where there are clusters of roads that are severe, in addition to which roads are more heavily traveled and create the most safety issues. Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield will then be able to make decisions on which roads to address based on data.
Once complete, the road study information will be made available to the public.