Money

What are plans regarding upcoming TSPLOST money being generated in Walker County for LaFayette, Chickamauga, Rossville and Lookout Mountain?

On Nov. 7, Walker County voters approved a referendum to charge a 1 percent transportation special purpose local option sales tax (TSPLOST) on all retail sales, except fuel, earmarked to fund road and bridge improvement projects.

This is not a tax on fuel.

Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said in November this TSPLOST is different than a regional TSPLOST, which was voted down several years ago, as the money collected goes solely towards the county and its cities — not to Atlanta or elsewhere.

LaFayette

The city of LaFayette is looking to invest in future road resurfacing projects, paving, sidewalks and walking trails..

According to City Manager David Hamilton, LaFayette's paving committee recently met to discuss both the state LMIG (Local Maintenance and Improvement) Grant for 2018 and a TSPLOST project lists.

"As a result, we are investigating the costs and feasibility of several road resurfacing projects including the utility replacement prior to repaving," Hamilton said.

The city is also investigating the cost and feasibility of building a sidewalk between Main Street and LaFayette High School by using some of the funding to complete a walking trail to the Ross Abney Complex which the city received a DNR grant to complete.

"We also discussed other potential sidewalk improvements, as well as the potential to build some walking and biking trails connecting our city parks and recreation locations," Hamilton said. "We will continue to focus on improving our road maintenance in the city while looking for opportunities to build a more walkable, bikeable city as well."

Chickamauga

The city of Chickamauga is looking into making improvements on several city roads, some that are connected to county roads, including Five Points Road.

City Manager Michael Haney said the city plans to work with the county on these improvements in 2018.

Haney said the city will focus on the roads the city receives the most complaints about from citizens' requests, including improvements on Osborn Road.

Haney said working simultaneously with the county is beneficial to both parties to ensure that there are no "seams" or breakdown of roads.

It will be a five-year plan, Haney said, so other city roads will be investigated for improvements as well.

Haney said the city estimates around $120,000 per year from the TSPLOST collections, as well as $40,000 per year form MEAG (Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia), resulting in about $100,000 per mile.

Lookout Mountain

The city of Lookout Mountain is working on a list of priority roads needing improvement, like Lula Lake Road, and culvert repairs.

According to Mayor David Bennett, TSPLOST money will go towards pathways and sidewalks within the city, including the culvert work along Lula Lake Road.

Bennett said there are other roads within the city in need of work and this list is currently being gathered.

Bennett said a master plan will be in place to place sidewalks throughout the community, including sidewalks along Lula Lake Road and Fairyland School as a priority. Additional sidewalk work is being considered as well, he said.

A consultant will be brought into the city to help with sidewalks throughout the community, Bennett said.

Rossville

The city of Rossville plans to address the worst roads first and expects to see TSPLOST money coming in around June 2018.

According to Mayor Teddy Harris, the city plans to address "the worst of the worst first" as far as road improvements within the city.

Any paving of roads will have to wait until 2019 as the money is collected to conduct the work, but some paving could be started in the fall, Harris said.

Harris is anticipating the city receiving between $10,000 to $15,000 per month in TSPLOST collections, which he said is not enough to begin work right away. As more money is collected, the city can focus on repaving throughout the city.

"We are going to have to see," Harris said.

Harris said Carol Lane and Rowland Avenue was recently paved thanks to an LMIG grant.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.