House Bill 310, passed by the Georgia Senate on Jan. 14 and by the Georgia House on Jan. 17 and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal yesterday, contains a provision that will allow the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to put the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax on the May 20 ballot.
The Commissioners are scheduled to make that decision at their regular meeting on March 4, but they could not have put the issue before voters until later in the year–probably in November--had the General Assembly not passed and the governor not signed the House bill.
|Davis At Meeting 1/13/2014|
Oconee County citizens will have their second chance on Feb. 10 to tell the Commissioners which of the requests totaling $97.7 million they want included in $47.3 million the county is projecting it will receive from the 2015 SPLOST, should voters approve it.
Following that meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. and be held at the Civic Center on Hog Mountain Road, the Commissioners will have to approve language for the referendum that specifies how the tax revenue is to be spent.
90 Days Required
The last day the county can publish the required “Call for Election” legal advertisement is March 14.
HB 310 specifies that special elections–which the SPLOST referendum will be–must be called at least 60 days prior to the date of the statewide primary.
Prior to passage of the law, special elections had to be called 90 days prior to the election.
House Bill 310 moved the statewide primary from July 15 to May 20 in response to a federal court decision that found Georgia was not providing adequate time for military voters in federal elections.
The change in the required time between the call of the election and the actual election–from 90 to 60 days–was to accommodate the new election schedule.
Oconee Planned For July Vote
Oconee County announced the SPLOST 2015 time line in July of last year, when the assumption was that the election would be held either on June 3 or July 15.
Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis told me prior to the first public meeting on the SPLOST requests on Jan. 13 that he was optimistic that the General Assembly would make the change to allow the county to hold the election.
Had the time line not been changed, the earliest the county could have put the SPLOST referendum on the ballot was June 3, but no elections will be held in the state under the current schedule until July 22.
That is the primary runoff date.
Most likely, the county would have had to put the SPLOST vote on the Nov. 4 ballot without the passage of the change in the time line incorporated in HB 310.