DA has plans for SPLOST

The development authority board, including Buck Harnage (left) and Larry Taylor, voted to contract for a new website to market Alma and Bacon County to the rest of the world.

With a mission to attract new industry and jobs to Bacon County, the development authority is hoping to get a slice of the SPLOST pie come November.

At their regular meeting last week, the authority board voted unanimously to ask for a portion of the proposed penny sales tax to be used primarily for land acquisition, but also for current and future infrastructure needs. The group did not set an exact amount to request.

The SPLOST referendum will appear on the upcoming November ballot and will be a continuation of an existing sales tax which expires in 2018. The Bacon County Hospital and City of Alma have already put the county on notice they want part of the tax funds.

“We will decide on the amount we will ask for as the conversation moves forward,” said Development Authority Executive Director Kevin Ellis.

Also in a quest to attract new business and industry to the community, the development authority board voted unanimously to spend $7,000 of their current SPLOST funds for the development of a completely new website.

The site which will promote Alma and Bacon County to the world will be constructed by 365 Marketing of St. Simons Island. Plans call for it to be six to 10 pages of photos and information that can be updated regularly.

“This will help us to climb the ladder on Google search,” Ellis told the board.

Although the project was budgeted for in the authority’s 2016-17 financial plan, the board voted to use sales tax funds for the purchase on the recommendation of their newest member.

“The county’s general fund is in bad trouble,” Larry Taylor said. “So, the county would rather you didn’t spend this money out of your regular budget. There is $100,000 in SPLOST funds sitting there right now. Let’s use that.”

Work will begin on the new website immediately, and it will be constructed in such a way that it can be expanded in the future to include the City of Alma and Bacon County.