A public update on local SPLOST projects is slated for 5 p.m. Thursday at one of the facilities: the new Rome-Floyd County Recycling Center at 412 Lavender Drive.
The 2013 special purpose, local option sales tax package contained $1,379,000 used to renovate the former Zartic plant for expanded recycling operations.
Collections for the $64.9 million SPLOST package ended March 31 but the 1-cent sales tax continued. Revenue since April 1 is funding a $63.9 million package of projects approved by voters in 2017.
City Manager Sammy Rich and County Manager Jamie McCord are slated to present status reports to each SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committee. Most of the 2013 projects are done, but Chulio Hills subdivision is still waiting for its secondary access road.
The $800,000 project was initially a city project, but part of the route is in the county. McCord said the county is assisting, but the cheapest alignment so far is still more than $50,000 over budget and would impact several homes. A meeting is scheduled with the residents on April 30.
Rich said the restoration of Unity Point, at the confluence of the Coosa, Oostanaula and Etowah rivers, also ran into some pricey environmental issues.
“We intentionally pushed it to the end,” he told city commissioners at their planning session. “The plan is to do as much in-house engineering as possible, collect as much data as possible ... then revise the (request for proposals) and put it out again.”
The 2017 SPLOST update is expected to be short, since neither board has prioritized its projects yet.
The county is working on a jail medical facility that combines $2.2 million from the 2013 SPLOST and $5.2 million from the 2017 package. City commissioners are advance-funding some smaller projects, including fire trucks.
The boards aren’t expected to decide before this summer if they’ll issue bonds to start other 2017 SPLOST projects before the money is in the bank.
Voters approved the issuance of up to $30 million in bonds backed by the special purpose, local option sales tax that started April 1.
But McCord said his board can’t prioritize projects until they get a report from Atlanta-based Sizemore Group. The consulting firm was tapped in March to determine how to rearrange departments in county facilities for the best fit over the next 20 years.
“Our whole SPLOST hinges on the space-needs analysis,” McCord told a meeting of city and county officials last week. “We’ve got time.”
County Finance Director Susie Gass presented the boards with three potential bond scenarios, for $10 million, $20 million or $30 million. Commissioners are weighing the options.
“The city doesn’t have a huge project like we did in the last SPLOST ... (but) in my experience, projects never get cheaper with age,” Assistant City Manager Patrick Eidson said.
That’s true of many projects, County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock noted, but not of every one.
“It’s a crapshoot ... You’ve got to figure if the savings on construction costs offsets the cost of the bonds, and that’s hard to predict,” County Commissioner Wright Bagby agreed.