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Mayors, chairman discuss need for SPLOST passage

Clayton County commission Chairman Jeff Turner, left, chats with Morrow Mayor JB Burke about the proposed 2015 SPLOST during an impromptu meeting Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Clayton County commission Chairman Jeff Turner, left, chats with Morrow Mayor JB Burke about the proposed 2015 SPLOST during an impromptu meeting Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Clayton County commission Chairman Jeff Turner listens as Morrow Mayor JB Burke talks about the need by the county’s cities to see voters approve the proposed 2015 SPLOST during a meeting Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright talks about the cost of a SPLOST to an average taxpayer meeting during a meeting with Morrow Mayor J.B. Burke and Clayton County commission Chairman Jeff Turner Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

MORROW — Two mayors and a chairman sat down to have a discussion Wednesday.

It might sound like the start of a joke, but the subject matter is not a laughing matter. Morrow Mayor J.B. Burke and Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright sat down with county commission Chairman Jeff Turner to discuss the need for the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax vote to pass.

Burke, speaking from the municipal standpoint, said the lists put forward by the county’s seven cities merit approval by the voters.

“All seven of the cities lists are practicable,” Burke said. “I just fully support it. It’s the right thing to do.”

While a bailout of Southern Regional Medical Center has gotten the lion’s share of attention from the proposed projects for the SPLOST, there are several smaller projects at the municipal level that have flown under the radar.

Among those projects are several new sidewalks in nearly every city. The long lists of projects also includes funding to renovate Lee Street Park in Jonesboro, purchase police vehicles in Forest Park, buy a street sweeper for Lake City, purchased a fire apparatus for Morrow, make intersection improvements in Lovejoy and complete phase II of Riverdale Park.

These are projects various mayors have said they would have to raise property taxes to otherwise pay for.

Burke and Cartwright pointed out that residents are already paying the tax and that voting in favor of it May 20 will only mean voters are saying they want to continue the tax.

Cartwright added that residents would not pay much in a year’s time — based on his calculations — if the SPLOST passes.

“Let’s say the medium, average household — let’s say a person — makes $40,000 a year,” said Cartwright. “If they spend in a store 40 percent of their income, which is $16,000, one-percent of that is $160. So we’re talking about the benefit of this is that the only amount residents of this county will contribute, in a year’s time, only $160.”

He later added “SPLOST is the right way to do it.”

For his part, Turner said the success of the cities in any endeavour they undertake is good for the entire county.

“Any time Morrow, Riverdale, Lovejoy — any of the cities in this county — are successful, then we are all successful,” said Turner.