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SPLOST collections spike up for Troup County School System

LaGRANGE- The Troup County School System’s SPLOST (Special-Purpose Local-Options Sales Tax) collections were shown to be above projections at a recent school board meeting.

SPLOST is a financing method for paying for capital projects in the state of Georgia. It is an optional 1 percent sales tax levied by any county for the purpose of funding the building of parks, schools, roads and other public facilities. It’s only to be used for infrastructure, not people, and has been approved by Troup County voters for the past several elections.

In October, the SPLOST collection came to $883,674, which compares to the collection of $877,163 in October during the previous school year.

October’s increase is the first upswing in collections in a while.

“The issue we’ve been having is that the collections have been down for 14 months in a row if you go back and compare it to the prior year,” said Byron Jones, chief financial officer of the Troup County School System. “The $883,674 in October 2016 was the first month in about a year and a half where it was ahead of the prior year.”

For 14 consecutive months – August of the 2015-2016 school year to September of 2016-2017 school year – the SPLOST collections were down. In October, the tax collections increased.

Jones says he thinks the SPLOST collections will be back down for the month of November at around $851,000 compared to the previous November when it was sitting at $892,644.

“We hope that the sales tax start trending upwards with the new businesses coming to town in another year, year and a half, because that would have an impact on sales tax and we hope to grow that,” said Jones. “We’ve been in a declining mode for what it seems like a year and a half and the county should be in the same situation as us because we both have the 1 percent.”

Jones explained that statewide there have been some exemptions on taxes that has changed over the years that might have had some impact on why things were down in certain counties compared to the previous year in sales tax.

“Most counties right now are down in sales tax from the prior year. Statewide, it’s been down for a year and it should be hitting everybody hard,” said Jones.

Jones also contributes the rise to taxes on higher price fuels, gasoline prices increasing and the acquisition of TAVT (Title Ad Valorem Tax) as reasons the sales tax went up.

The Title Ad Valorem Tax is for vehicles purchased on or after March 1, 2013 in the state of Georgia and owners of the vehicle will be exempt from sales or used tax and the annual valorem tax. Now, these vehicles will have to pay a new, one-time title ad valorem tax that is based on the value of the vehicle.

“Sales tax used to be collected on a vehicle sale down at the dealership where they would charge you 7 percent on sales tax and that came to the Troup County School System in SPLOST taxes,” said Jones. “The law changed where there’s another tax now called a TAVT (Title Ad Valorem Tax) and it comes to us through local taxes. The taxation law changed a few years ago in the legislature to where ad valorem vehicles have changed now.”

Though the sales tax went up, overall Jones feels confident it will reduce in the next coming months. He is also grateful for the support of the community for voting for the E-SPLOST.

“Were thrilled that the public voted in the continuation of the SPLOST 4 Initiative,” said Jones. “The next five-year cycle with the E-SPLOST 5 will begin this summer.”

 

Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at james.simpson@lagrangenews.com