Voters will get to decide May 24 whether Bryan County can continue collecting a penny sales tax for transportation projects.
Bryan County Commissioners on Feb. 8 unanimously approved a resolution to hold the referendum, which seeks to continue the Transportation Special Location Option Sales Tax, or TSPLOST, another five years or until it collects $80 million.
The current TSPLOST, approved in 2018 by 65 percent of voters, is set to reach its limit of $27 million this year, according to county officials.
Under the Feb. 8 resolution, if voters approve another TSLPOST then commissioners can incur up to $40 million in debt to fund transportation projects – primarily roads – up front. The debt will be secured by TSPLOST proceeds.
In a related measure, commissioners also approved in advance an agreement with Pembroke and Richmond Hill to split up the proceeds of the TSPLOST. Bryan County will get 56.5 percent of the tax; Richmond Hill will receive 35 percent and Pembroke will get 8.5 percent, according to the agreement.
Representatives from the three governments met Jan. 5 to discuss how to split TSPLOST revenue. Things went smoothly between the three governments, which in recent years have been involved in mediation and lawsuits over taxation and service delivery strategy negotiations.
“It was really nice we settled this in a couple of hours of discussion, instead of having some drawn out arm wrestling match,” District 5 Commissioner Dr. Gene Wallace said at the Aug. 8 meeting.
TSPLOST funds can only be used for transportation projects, such as improving or building roads, bike paths, trails, bridges and sidewalks, as well as to buy equipment with which to complete such projects.