By Carter Infinger, Bryan County Commission Chairman.
On Nov. 7, 2023, elections for city seats and the continuance of the SPLOST are on the ballot. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is a 1% sales tax paid on most purchases made within Bryan County by residents and non-residents alike, but it is estimated that two thirds of that collected comes from non-residents. Those non-residents help fund the infrastructure that they use and reduce the tax burden on homeowners.
This SPLOST continuance is the 8th time that SPLOST has been on the ballot and is expected to collect a maximum of $147 million over six years. This total amount is divided by Bryan County (56.5%), Richmond Hill (35%), and Pembroke (8.5%) to fund projects to meet the goals of each. Bryan County’s portion, which is based on population and services rendered is expected to be $83 million. Bryan County provides several services to the cities of Richmond Hill and Pembroke, such as Animal Control, Courts, Family and Children’s Services, Senior Services, Emergency Medical Services, 911, and more.
Bryan County uses SPLOST dollars for a variety of purposes. The funds can only be used to build or repair, but cannot be used to run facilities or fund the salaries of County employees. The most recent examples of SPLOST funded infrastructure include the new Henderson Park double gym and fields, the Richmond Hill Library renovation and expansion, several fire trucks of various capabilities, and Sheriff’s Office vehicles. Fire Stations throughout the county have been remodeled and parks have been renovated with these funds. SPLOST can also be used as a grant match for projects such as the building of the Bryan County Fisherman’s Co-op, and public safety initiatives. These funds can also be used to supplement T-SPLOST funds for large road and bridge improvements, expansion, and planning.
As Bryan County grows, SPLOST becomes an important tool to keep up with water, sewer, transportation, and recreation needs throughout the county and it allows the county to roll back the millage rate, keeping property taxes low. Future projects include the addition of two baseball fields in Henderson Park, additional expansion of the Fisherman’s Co-op, and the continued purchase of needed emergency services vehicles to ensure that they are in service when the worst happens. SPLOST is for improvements and that is what I strive to bring to Bryan County as your chairman. I thank you for allowing me to serve.
Carter Infinger is a chairman with the Bryan County Board of Commissioners.