Final SPLOST committee members expected to be named next week

They've volunteered for positions with a great deal of responsibility but little real power.

And by Tuesday, the final members of an advisory committee that will make recommendations for projects that could be funded from a future Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will be named. Members of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners were originally looking to place a SPLOST referendum on the May 2020 general primary ballot, but they now say they may place it on the November 2020 presidential election ballot.

The committee members will advise elected officials and make recommendations about which projects should or should not be funded by any SPLOST. But local governments will have the final word on which projects will be included on the SPLOST.

Whitfield commissioners are scheduled to name their representatives to the committee when they meet Monday at 6 p.m. in the Wells Fargo building.

The Cohutta Town Council will meet at 6 p.m. and the Tunnel Hill City Council at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and they are expected to name their representatives.

The Cohutta council was supposed to meet last week, but Mayor Ron Shinnick said they did not have a quorum to conduct business.

Each city will have just one representative on the committee.

Each of the five county commissioners will appoint two people to the committee from their district. Commission Chairman Lynn Laughter is elected county-wide. The commissioners will collectively name one alternate.

The Dalton City Council on Monday voted 4-0 to name Steve Card, David Pennington IV and Allison Whittle as representatives to the committee and Tiger Wagner as the alternate.

There were more than 60 applicants hoping to serve on the 16-member committee that will have two alternates. It will hold its first meeting later this month, but the date has not been set, according to County Administrator Mark Gibson. At that meeting, committee members will elect their officers and set a meeting schedule.

The mayor and council of Varnell appointed Paul Wilson to the advisory committee last month. Only one person applied from Cohutta, Nicholas Conner, and one from Tunnel Hill, William Middleton. Officials in both of those cities say they believe their respective councils will find them acceptable.

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