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Oconee Officials: Let People from Athens Pay

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis has written two columns in The Oconee Enterprise about the county’s most recent car tag survey.

Davis also spoke enthusiastically about the survey on Feb. 10 when the county presented citizens a list of proposals for possible funding by the planned 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Rick Waller, chairman of the county’s Industrial Development Authority, touted the survey’s findings that same night when he came to the microphone to make a pitch for the IDA’s request for $4.7 million in SPLOST funding.

Sheriff Scott Berry embraced the survey findings enthusiastically at the BOC called meeting on March 3 when he argued for his request of $5.5 million in SPLOST money, including funding for patrol vehicles.

“Let the people from Athens and Barrow County and everything else—the people we chase—pay for it,” Berry said, reflecting the arguments of Davis and Waller as well.

People from outside Oconee County, not the citizens of Oconee County, will pay the bulk of the 1 percent SPLOST tax, according to the argument.

An analysis of the methodology of the car tag survey indicates that the claim should be viewed cautiously.

What can be said is that the tag survey found that on parts of nine days in late January and early February, the vast majority of the 7,482 cars with visible tags identifying county in 10 commercial parking lots in Oconee County, nine of them along Epps Bridge Parkway, were not from Oconee County.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.