Fulton County voters appear to have approved both a transportation sales tax and an education sales tax for another five years, according to unofficial returns from the Nov. 2 election.

With all 389 precincts reporting, the Education Special Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) had 104,367 votes (70.21%) in support, with 44,292 (29.79%) against.

“We want to thank the voters in Fulton County for their continued support of our schools. Through solid financial stewardship of past ESPLOSTs, our board has been able to invest in both buildings and technology, stay committed to the lowest millage rate in the metro area, and pay off all long-term capital debt,” Fulton County Board of Education President Julia Bernath said. “Our school community has been through so much during the pandemic, we are grateful for their commitment to the future capital needs of our students and staff.”

The Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) involved fewer precincts, as Atlanta has its own tax. With the 220 precincts reporting, 49,823 voters (60.91%) in the 13 Fulton County cities voted to extend the tax, while 31,971 voters (39.09%) voted against it.

Approval of both ESPLOST and TSPLOST would mean significant projects in Sandy Springs, such as building a new North Springs High School for the Fulton County Schools system and widening Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs, can move forward on schedule.

Purchases of goods and services in Fulton County will include a 0.75 percent sales tax to fund TSPLOST projects.

“We’ve got some major projects that we want to get done that would have a major or significant impact on mobility,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said election night.

With approval of TSPLOST, the city will widen Hammond Drive, known for its traffic congestion.

Concept plans for the Hammond Drive widening project include a roundabout at its intersection with Hildebrand Drive. (Special)

 “Clearly we’re gonna finish the Johnson Ferry-Mount Vernon-Roswell Road intersection, which is a huge bottleneck, and the plans there will have a major impact on east-west mobility,” Paul added.

The ESPLOST approval means purchases will continue to include a 1 percent (“one penny”) sales tax to fund projects for both the Fulton County Schools and Atlanta Public Schools districts. In addition to the new North Springs High School, planned FCS projects include more turf fields, LED lighting, media center renovations and other upgrades.

The sales tax revenue is split proportionately based on population.

North Springs High School is set to be replaced with a new building.
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Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.