CAIRO — Grady County voters chose to renew a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) Tuesday.

The six-year SPLOST, which will go into effect next spring, was approved by a margin of 2,337-436.

Early voting saw 1,128 yes votes to 189 no votes, not including paper ballots.

Tuesday's result likely means that a proposed 4.75 mil increase will be scaled back, possibly by as many as 3 mils. Grady County commissioners have previously stated that the mil increase would be partially rolled back if the SPLOST were to pass.

A final hearing on the proposed mil increase will take place Thursday at 9 a.m.

County Administrator Buddy Johnson has previously stated that the county is in the midst of an "emergency budgetary crisis." According to Johnson, the county's available cash balance will be depleted by 2021 if something is not done to increase revenue flows. 

Passing the SPLOST helps get the county moving in the right direction, Johnson said.

"I'm glad to see the results from the SPLOST election," Johnson said. "The voters' decision will allow us to roll the proposed millage rate increase back to a much more reasonable number."

The SPLOST is estimated to generate $18 million over the next six years which will be split between the county and the cities of Cairo and Whigham. For the county, $7.8 million will be used to pay previously incurred debt at Tired Creek Lake.

For Cairo, a combined $3 million will be used to improve drinking water and waste water infrastructure, such as the water main loop near Highways 188 and 84 and repairing sources of inflow and infiltration. An additional $1.8 million will be set aside to pay down debt.

The existing SPLOST, approved by voters in 2014, will expire next March.

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