ROSWELL — Fulton County voters from all 13 cities outside Atlanta are eligible to cast ballots this November to decide whether to renew the .75-cent transportation special purpose local option sales tax, or TSPLOST.
“It doesn’t matter if 100 percent of people in Roswell vote for it,” Roswell Transportation Director Muhammad Rauf said. “If it fails overall, then it fails. And if it passes, it’s going to be for everybody. There’s no one city whose vote counts more.”
Since September, the City of Roswell has been holding a series of public information meetings to help voters understand what the sales tax renewal is and how it would generated revenue to support future transportation projects.
The city’s first in-person meeting took place Oct. 6 at East Roswell Park, where residents were free to walk around and view displays of various projects that would be funded through the tax.
Rauf said TSPLOST 1 passed in 2016. It was the first time Fulton County cities other than Atlanta had enacted a sales tax specifically for transportation. TSPLOST 1 went into effect in April 2017 and will expire in March 2022, unless voters renew it for another five years.
The tax is paid by anyone who buys taxable goods and services in Fulton County. Revenue goes toward transportation projects like roads, bridges, sidewalks and other improvements. Rauf said Roswell has 16 projects that it could construct if TSPLOST 2 passes.
“Before TSPLOST 1, all the other cities (outside Atlanta) couldn’t do much,” Rauf said. “They would just look to the state or use their own money which is hard to come up with because there are so many needs in the city — parks and rec, public safety. So, for transportation, the cities were struggling. You had a lot of needs but not a lot of money.”
He said TSPLOST 1 gave the city a new source of revenue for projects that it is continuing to work on. It is on pace to have brought an additional $84 million in transportation dollars to Roswell, and if TSPLOST 2 passes, it is expected to generate the same amount over the next five years.
Many of the TSPLOST 2 projects deal with multi-use trails to make Roswell a more walkable, bike-friendly city.
One example is the Chattahoochee River Parks Multi-use Trail Rehabilitation project, which would involve the milling and replacement of the existing asphalt trail surface, including restoration and repairs to certain portions of the boardwalk system prone to flood impacts. That project is estimated to cost $2,195,750.
Despite these plans, Rauf said it is important for the public to be heavily involved in the projects they want to see.
“You tell us what you want, where you think the problems are, and then we incorporate all of that and before we start the actual design work for any of these projects, we use the public input to finalize the concept and let the City Council approve it,” Rauf said.
During the meeting, city staff also launched a virtual meeting room that voters can access from any mobile device. The virtual meeting room includes video and animation explaining what TSPLOST 2 is and the projects planned for the City of Roswell if it passes.
Communications Specialist Lavonia Jones said it’s a great tool because it eliminates the need to attend meetings in person and is accessible 24/7. Each project can also be downloaded or saved to any computer. The tool should be available on the city’s website by the end of the week.
The city is also holding two more meetings this month before voters go to the polls Nov. 2. A virtual meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, and an in-person meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, at City Hall.
No registration is necessary for the in-person meeting, but registration is required for the virtual meeting. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join.
For more information, to register for a virtual meeting or to view the virtual meeting room, visit RoswellGov.com/TSPLOST2.