What is SPLOST?
SPLOST stands for Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax and is an existing 1% tax that funds capital projects important to a municipality's residents.
The History of SPLOST
SPLOST isn't new; it's nearly four decades old! The Georgia legislature allowed counties to implement a one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax since 1985. As a county tax, SPLOST can only be initiated by the Board of Commissioners but requires voters' approval to be adopted. Though counties hold the elections for voting on SPLOST, other municipalities may enter into an agreement for the use and distribution of the funds. Catoosa County first adopted SPLOST after a vote held in 1994, and they will hold another election this year to continue the 1% Tax and enter into agreements with Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe for the distribution of 2024 SPLOST funds.
What does SPLOST do?
Funds from this 1% tax are used to improve transportation, public safety, utilities, and recreation. So what exactly can a penny do? A penny can improve sidewalks, build bridges, and maintain and repair roadways. It can also help enhance public safety by providing funds for critical improvements like adding more fire stations and new equipment for first responders. Additionally, a penny can build parks, create trails, acquire land, and protect resources. Other projects made possible by SPLOST often go unnoticed by the general public but are paramount to ensuring residents have access to essential services. For instance, SPLOST is often used to repair and revitalize crucial water and wastewater lines and facilities.
SPLOST in Ringgold
How is SPLOST helping our community here in Ringgold?
Thanks to SPLOST, the City of Ringgold has been able to build and maintain several projects that benefit our citizens.
Past SPLOST Projects
The City of Ringgold used the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax to fund several completed and ongoing projects in 2023. For instance, SPLOST allowed the City to improve public safety by procuring several new emergency vehicles for our first responders. It has also allowed us to repair existing water lines, rehabilitate 10,000 linear feet of our sewer system, and add a 500,000 gallon water tank on Taylor's Ridge, ensuring better utility access for our community.
SPLOST has also improved transportation in Ringgold and brought new recreational opportunities to residents. The City has used funds to help make walking in our area a more accessible option by widening sidewalks downtown and by paving and extending the Chief Richard Taylor Nature Trail, also known as The Golden Mile Trail. One of the most recent initiatives, funded in part by SPLOST, is Phase 1 of the new Ringgold Recreation Area, which will boast 10 pickle-ball courts, a basketball court, 80 additional paved parking spots, and multiple pavilions all of which are connected by a new trail and sidewalks. Finally, SPLOST has begun to help bring Ringgold's Strategic Vision Plan to life through streetscaping and landscaping improvements in our downtown area, newly paved sidewalks, and the construction of a community gathering space behind City Hall.
Upcoming SPLOST Projects
We have plans to continue the positive upward momentum our City gained in 2023 by using SPLOST for several exciting and crucial projects in 2024. These include further advancements to our utilities by rehabilitating more of our sewer system, making stormwater improvements, and replacing vital water lines. Additionally, Ringgold will have a new water well near Poplar Springs, making utilities more accessible for our residents. Making walking a more viable form of transportation continues to be at the forefront of our initiatives and will be implemented by adding 4,000 feet of sidewalks beginning at the Boynton Drive area and ending at Old Pollard Road. Finally, SPLOST will also help fund the completion of Phase 2 of the Ringgold Recreation Area. Projects that are a part of this phase include improved soccer fields and additional parking at Patriot Hall.
A penny can completely transform our community by providing spaces for us to come together, creating opportunities to grow, and ensuring we are all safe and protected. We are proud of all the incredible projects the City has made a reality through SPLOST, and we hope to continue to make Ringgold a dream place to call home. These accomplishments are but one of the infinite reasons there's nothing like Ringgold!
Upcoming SPLOST Election:
Catoosa County will hold the 2024 SPLOST election on Tuesday, March 12th. If approved, 2024 SPLOST funds will be collected starting July 1st, 2024, and continue through June of 2030. Voter-approved 2019 SPLOST funds will continue to be collected through June 30th, 2024. We encourage the citizens of Ringgold to vote in this year's election and make their voices heard.