THOMASVILLE — Local government officials say a $36 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is the best way to fund several local projects, including a new multi-purpose government building and renovations at the Thomas County Courthouse.

However, some Thomas County residents oppose the idea of the local sales tax going up another one percent.

“Everything is high enough now,” Thomasville’s Abbie Keadle said. “We don’t need any more increases. People are paying out enough money now, and struggling to make ends meet.”

Keadle said a sales tax is fair, because everyone would have to pay it, “but at this point I don’t think we need another increase,” she said.

Ann Black also said the SPLOST would be the fairest means of taxation, but disagreed with the county’s need for new facilities. “The courthouse is a historical site and it should be fixed instead of a new one being built. We’ve got too many buildings in this town now that could be occupied,” she said.

Teresa Samuel said if a higher sales tax is inevitable, the county should use it to fund a project that would help the entire community. “I don’t want to pay sales taxes, but that’s not my choice. We don’t need a new courthouse. They ought to get something that we do need — something that will help people out getting a job,” she said.

Samuel said new government facilities would not create jobs, something a lot of Thomas County citizens need more than a new courthouse. “There are a lot of homeless people around here — people on the streets. They should spend the money on a homeless shelter or something that we need. We don’t need a courthouse,” she said.

Bernice Rollins also opposes a sales tax increase. “I think it’s awful. Things are already too expensive, especially for older people who have to purchase their medicine,” she said.

Thomasville resident Elizabeth Murray said the cost of living is too steep for another sales tax increase. “We can’t handle it. They shouldn’t raise the sales tax unless they raise the minimum wage,” she said. “They ought to pay us more dollars instead of making us pay more taxes on the dollar.”

Mary Lundy shared the same sentiments. “I don’t feel like they should increase the sales tax. People are barely making ends meet as it is,” she said.

Thomas County voters will make their decisions during a SPLOST referendum Tuesday, July 18.

To contact reporter Brewer Turley, call (229) 226-2400, ext. 226.

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