Mopping Up Sewage With Penny Tax Could Be Costly

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

By Greg Gullberg
July 10, 2013

Valdosta, GA - Valdosta city leaders are trying to make sure a spewing sewage problem doesn't happen again within the city limits. But it'll come at a cost.

Residents in the Meadow Brook Subdivision of Valdosta saw raw sewage in their yards in February. The Waste Water Treatment Plant flooded backing up the pipes.

"The smell basically is what bothers me real bad. And you just feel like your yard's not clean and you're cutting grass on your lawn mower and such and having to smell that stuff out here, it's bad," said Tom Schunhoff.

Valdosta city leaders want to fix the problem with a special penny tax called 'SPLOST.' It stands for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

City leaders say it would generate $80 million over six years. More than half would be used for repairing and relocating the treatment plant.

"It's below the 100 year flood plain so we can't repair it because of that. FEMA will not allow that since it's in the flood plain. So we have to move it to higher ground," said John Gayle, Valdosta Mayor.

Voters just shot down the same proposal last year. The mayor says the consequences will be costly.

"Well the only contingency plan we have is we would have to raise property taxes considerably. Possibly even raise water and sewer rates considerably," said Mayor Gayle.

The other 25 million will be used for road repairs and new police and fire equipment.

If voters approve SPLOST this November, the plant could be finished as soon as summer 2015.

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