Georgia National Fair attracts thousands, SPLOST funds to Houston County

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PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Georgia National Fairgrounds attracts about one million people to Perry each year.

That means fair goers end up being the driving force of a huge economic engine.

You can spend your money on turkey legs, lemonade, candy apples, or rides.

But whatever you spend it on, it’s helping Houston County.

"It is an economic engine that we have here that other places do not have," said Perry Mayor Pro Tempore Randall Walker.

When people spend like money on a lemonade at the stand, a percentage of the sales tax on what you buy heads to the county.

"(The) state gets 4%, the county basically gets 3%–one percent goes to the board of education direct, one percent goes to the LOST, which goes to the board of education, and one goes the the SPLOST," said Walker.

The county’s portion may not sound like much, but Walker knows how important that money is to residents.

"This year’s SPLOST, or this 6-year SPLOST–is going to give us 10-million dollars," said Walker.

That money is just for Perry.

The money is spread out across the county, widening roads like Houston Road in Warner Robins, building a brand new law enforcement center in Centerville and reconstructing Ball Street in Perry.

"This road was fairly narrow coming through here and presented some safety issues with trucks using it as well as cars coming up and down the street," said Walker.

The SPLOST started in 2012, so a portion of the money you see working now is from past Georgia National Fairs.

"(It is) to do improvements all of us will enjoy that we would have not have normally been able to enjoy without creating some other type of revenue stream," said Walker.

As of right now — the six-year SPLOST for Houston County is expected to generate about $155 million, and a lot of that is thanks to the fair.