BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Blairsville City Council officially proclaimed the city a Purple Heart City at the July 2021 meeting.
“City of Blairsville has a highly decorated veteran population including Purple Heart recipients, and Blairsville appreciates the sacrifice of the Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedoms and believe it is important and we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned,” a portion of the proclamation read.
Last month, Union County became a Purple Heart County. The move makes it easier to the county and the city to become a stop on the Purple Heart Trail.
The trail creates “a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways, bridges, and other monuments that give tribute to the men and women who have been awarded the Purple Heart medal.” It serves as a visual reminder to those on the road that someone paid a high price for them to travel comfortably in the states.
Veteran and member of the Order of Purple Heart Ryan McPherson accepted the proclamation on behalf of those who fought and were injured or died in service to the country.
“We’re so thankful you guys took the initiative to continue to make Blairsville and surrounding community a veteran-friendly community. This an honorary and symbolic way, we connect cities, counties, and towns, and roads and bridges together to Purple Heart Trail this entire nation,” McPherson stated.
McPherson is semi-retired in Blairsville, originally from Atlanta. One of the reasons he chose Blairsville was the veteran community.
In recent wars, thousands of soldiers received Purple Hearts:
- 320,000 in World War I
- Over 1,000,000 in World War II
- 118,000 in the Korean War
- 351,000 in Vietnam
- 600 in the Persian Gulf
- 12,000 in Afghanistan
- 35,000 in Iraq
George Washington created the Purple Heart as a badge of military merit in 1782. He pinned it on three people. It was also the first American Service Award made available to the common soldier.
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Blairsville City Council approved the intergovernmental agreement with Union County for the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) referendum during the July 2021 meeting.
The approval is one in a series of steps necessary for TSPLOST to appear on a special election ballot in November 2021.
The intergovernmental agreement allows Blairsville to receive a portion of proceeds from a one percent sales tax. TSPLOST would raise the total sales tax from 7 to 8 cents on the dollar. The state allows a county up to 9 cents in sales taxes. The state levies the first 4 cents.
The intergovernmental agreement would last for five years and is contingent on voters approving TPLOST in the fall. Measures such as LOST, SPLOST, ESPLOST, and TSPLOST must be approved by registered voters in Union County.
2021 is an off-year for county elections, but the county could call a special election just for TSPLOST. Municipal elections for Blairsville are being held this year.
As the name implies, TSPLOST funds go solely toward transportation projects, unlike SPLOST which covers most capital outlay efforts for a county and city. TSPLOST must meet a transportation need outside of regular SPLOST or free up SPLOST funds for other projects.
With the intergovernmental agreement in place, the county could levy a fractional rate of up to 1 percent. If Blairsville hadn’t passed the agreement, then the levy amount would stop at .75 percent.
If passed, TSPLOST could generate up to $5 million a year and the city of Blairsville would receive between five or eight percent of those funds.
The closest county to Union with TSPLOST is Lumpkin. Gilmer recently put TSPLOST on the ballot and it failed. Here’s a copy of Georgia’s Sales and Use Tax Rate Chart.
Sales taxes, such as LOST, SPLOST, ESPLOST, and TSPLOST, are meant to alleviate the tax burden on local property owners. Since sales taxes are consumption-based and everyone who makes a purchase within the county contributes. In communities like Union County, weekends often see an influx of tourists looking to escape for the weekend. For the last few years, sales tax-related revenue has continued to increase for Union County at a rate higher than expected.
Property owners in Union County experienced a tax increase of 17 percent last year, and they just received property revaluation notices from the tax commissioner’s office. Several experienced significant property value increases.
Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris remarked throughout last year’s tax increase process that the new property evaluations would result in the millage rate dropping this year. As a result, property owners should see their tax burden decrease.
Those wanting to lower their property values can make a case to the tax assessor’s office, but it doesn’t guarantee values will go down. Property owners have 45 days to appeal.