The City of Berkeley Lake benefits from a portion of SPLOST proceeds. SPLOST is a 1% county sales tax imposed for specific local improvements. This tax is levied for a period of not greater than six years or the total cost of the improvements, whichever occurs first, and may be re-imposed with voter approval.
How SPLOST Works
In Georgia, a SPLOST can be levied by any county, for the purpose of funding the building and maintenance of parks, schools, roads, and other public facilities. Counties are allowed to add up to 2% more sales tax for SPLOST. A SPLOST is passed by a county commission and voted up or down by residents in a referendum, usually during the next scheduled election. A SPLOST can only last up to six years. At that time, if the funds are still needed, a new SPLOST must be voted upon again. All expenditures of SPLOST funds must be in compliance with Article VIII, Section VI, Paragraph IV of the Georgia Constitution, and Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Section 48-8-141.
Cities are normally not allowed to levy sales taxes; they instead share proportionately with their county.
SPLOST has provided significant resources to the City of Berkeley Lake. It has been estimated that approximately 40% or more of proceeds from SPLOST are from out-of-county sources since Gwinnett County is a shopping destination for citizens living in counties beyond our borders.
Counties and school systems are required to provide an independent accountants' report, examining the way the funds were allocated and attesting to the fact that the entity receiving funds managed those funds appropriately. There have been widely publicized incidents in other counties where citizens challenged SPLOST expenditures as not being precisely what had been approved by referendum. For these reasons, it is paramount for the City of Berkeley Lake to keep detailed and accurate records of all SPLOST expenditures and track expenses versus allocations.
SPLOST proceeds must be kept separate from the city’s general fund. City records are audited annually by an independent auditor chosen by the county.