Photo: Gustavo Fring – Pexel
Gwinnett County took a significant step forward in addressing its infrastructure needs as the Board of Commissioners approved a budget allocation of over $759 million from the 2023 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) revenue. This decision reflects the county’s commitment to enhancing transportation and parks projects, which are crucial for the well-being and progress of the community.
The county officials have earmarked an impressive 73% of the budgeted share of the 2023 SPLOST funds for transportation projects. The comprehensive transportation project list was carefully curated by a 15-member Citizens Project Selection Committee, which convened for a series of 10 meetings since the Fall of 2022. These projects encompass a wide range of improvements, including upgrades to major roads and intersections, bridges, pedestrian safety measures, resurfacing initiatives, speed control in residential areas, and enhanced school safety measures.
To ensure effective implementation, the transportation projects were categorized into two tiers. The first tier involves allocating approximately $482.67 million from the 2023 SPLOST revenue for transportation projects. The second tier consists of secondary projects that will receive funding if the SPLOST program generates more revenue than anticipated.
In addition to the transportation projects, the Recreation Authority played a pivotal role in prioritizing parks projects. By collaborating with county officials to update the parks and recreation master plan, they facilitated the allocation of $97.2 million from the 2023 SPLOST revenue for the development of new trails, expansion of existing parks, renovations, and the preservation of cultural and natural resources within Gwinnett County.
Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson highlighted the long-term benefits of the SPLOST program in supporting the county’s growing population and addressing its infrastructure demands. She praised the Transportation Citizens Project Selection Committee and the Recreation Authority for their diligent efforts in ensuring strategic investments in Gwinnett County’s future. Hendrickson also acknowledged the county’s history of fiscal stewardship, which has allowed them to leverage SPLOST funds effectively.
The SPLOST program has played a crucial role in funding Gwinnett County’s capital projects that are not covered by other taxes or service charges. Adopting a “pay-as-you-go” approach, the county has been able to keep up with its infrastructure demands. In November 2022, Gwinnett County voters showed their support by approving a one-percent SPLOST that will remain in effect until March 31, 2029. The program will be annually audited, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Over the next six years, the SPLOST program is expected to generate an estimated $1.35 billion in revenue. As cities in the county constitute approximately one-quarter of the land area and population, they will receive approximately 25% of the collected SPLOST funds, promoting balanced development throughout the region.
Gwinnett County recognizes the importance of public safety, senior services, animal shelter operations, and fleet management. Therefore, 15% of the county’s portion of the collected funds will be allocated to these vital services, ensuring the well-being of the community.
Additionally, Gwinnett County plans to utilize over $12.5 million in SPLOST funding to renovate the courts located inside the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville. Since its opening in 1988, the justice building has remained largely unchanged. The renovation project will cover approximately 250,000 square feet of judicial space, including courtrooms, deliberation rooms, judges’ chambers, and corridors. The plan also involves replacing lighting, ceilings, wall coverings, and other interior elements to enhance functionality and aesthetics.
Gwinnett County has a long-standing history of utilizing SPLOST funds to drive public improvements. Since the mid-1980s, these funds have been instrumental in expanding greenspaces, improving libraries, supporting education, aiding seniors, and enhancing public safety. For more information about the SPLOST initiative in Gwinnett County, residents can visit the government’s official website, where they can find comprehensive details about ongoing and upcoming projects that aim to uplift the community.