SPLOST tax impacts Rome community

Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier Staff Writer

The SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee approved a $63.8 million package of projects that are to be on the Nov. 7 Floyd County ballot. 

SPLOST (Special-Purpose Location-Option Sales Tax) is a one percent increase to current tax rates in order to develop revenue to fund local projects such as maintenance of roads, schools and other public facilities. 

SPLOST lasts for a maximum of five years, and the 2013 SPLOST will finish its term in March 2019. Thus, proposals for a 2017 SPLOST are under way, and the Berry community can look towards the possibility of many changes in our hometown. 

“Berry is a part of the local community, and SPLOST helps secure the long-term stability of our local economy, which is good for Berry,” Daniel Price, Berry’s In-House General Counsel, said. 

According to Price and Brian Erb, Vice President of Finance, there is no financial concern from this tax for students who have already been paying from the previous SPLOST, so the tax rate will remain the same. 

Erb said that many of the 25 approved projects will benefit the Rome community, and therefore, the Berry community as well. 

Some of these projects include water and sewer system improvements, creating an Agricultural Center, enhancements to the 911 call center, rejuvenation of Etowah Skate Park and even implementing an alternative route, such as a roundabout, to improve the intersection of Veterans Memorial Highway and Redmond Road. 

Improvements to the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College (RTC at BC), a 2013 SPLOST approved project, went to vote, and however lost eight to five in the committee’s roll-call vote. 

According to Erb and Price, the RTC at BC provided many opportunities for Berry and Rome communities alike. 

“The tennis center continues to be a tremendous success, even beyond most of our expectations,” Price said. 

Price states that RTC at BC would be considered successful if it hosted 15 to 20 tournaments each year. In its second year, the facility hosted over 40 events. 

Furthermore, Erb stated that the creation of the RTC at BC allowed for professional tennis certifications, student work, attraction to Berry and Rome and revenue to the community. 

“The visitors and tourism dollars that brings into our community is incredibly significant,” Price said. 

Citizen Advisory Committee members hope the 2017 SPLOST projects will repeat RTC’s success and as a result bring these benefits to Berry. 

“Investments in Rome help Berry,” Erb said.

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