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COVINGTON — Newton County voters will see a referendum for a Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax earmarked for transportation projects on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.

Newton County commissioners approved the resolution for the 1% TSPLOST at their July 21 meeting after reaching intergovernmental agreements with the municipalities in the county. Without the agreements with the cities, the most the TPLOST could collect would have been .75%. If the referendum is approved collections will begin April 1, bringing the county’s total state and local sales tax rate to 8%.

The proposed TSPLOST is expected to generate a total of $56,100,000 over five years. Collections will be distributed as follows:

♦ Newton County — $42,072,925

♦ Covington — $10,361,670

♦ Mansfield — $353,430

♦ Newborn — $465,630

♦ Oxford — $1,694,220

♦ Porterdale — $1,150,050

♦ Social Circle — $2,075

In a separate negotiation, Newton County Manager Lloyd Kerr said the county has agreed to supplement Mansfield’s share of collections by $800,000.

Newton County will use its portion of funds for the following proposed projects recommended by the SPLOST Oversight Committee:

♦ Intersection improvements, County Road 213 and Ga. Highway 36

♦ Widening of Brown Bridge Road

♦ Transit service startup

♦ Countywide safety plan (striping, signage and other safety measures)

♦ Industrial Boulevard improvements

♦ Bridge replacement on Henderson Mill Road at Bear Creek

♦ Paving

♦ Realignment at Mote Road and Ga. Highway 162

♦ Bridge replacement on Flat Shoals Road at Dried Indian Creek bridge

♦ Intersection improvements at Kirkland Road and Jack Neely roads

♦ Intersection improvements at Harold Dobbs and Crowell roads

♦ Bridge replacement on Dial Mill Road at Little Haynes Creek

Covington’s list of TSPLOST projects includes an increase in funding for bridges/maintenance, which would provide for possible construction of the Emory Street pedestrian bridge.

The county intends to bond up to $10 million in projects in order to get them underway while tax collections are accumulating. The city of Covington has indicated it will bond $8.9 million in projects.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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