SPLOST, solar on the table

Jamie McCord

Prioritizing SPLOST projects and developing a community board to address the opioid crisis are among the topics Floyd County commissioners will take up this week.

The board is scheduled to meet today and Tuesday for its annual planning session. Commissioners have a full slate of items for discussion, ranging from personnel issues to potential solar power initiatives.

"There's some opportunity there," County Manager Jamie McCord said about solar. "It will depend on the federal budget, but we've got a lot of (usable) land — at the airport, the landfill."

Floyd County commissioners are holding their retreat at the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. Today's session runs from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday's will be from 8 a.m. to noon. Both meetings are public.

Topping the agenda is a presentation of the county's financial situation. Then the board is expected to look at how they'll schedule projects in the 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax package.

Collections for that SPLOST won't start until the 2013 levy expires on March 31, 2019, but the board could issue bonds to jump-start some work. Commissioners opted to cash-flow the 2013 package, waiting until the money is in the bank to do the work.

"I think your prioritization will tell you if you need to do bonds," McCord told the commissioners at a meeting last week.

Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace said renovation of the Historic Floyd County Courthouse may not be able to wait. She asked for information on low-interest loans to be presented during the retreat.

Also, while the county joined a class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, commissioners and local medical professionals talked last month about the need to take more immediate action.

The board is expected to determine who should serve on a panel tasked with developing options. Law enforcement and the courts are likely to have representation as well as physicians, counselors and others who deal with addictive behavior. "I informally polled our police at a recent event and it seems like 60 percent to 85 percent of what they do is connected to drugs," Commissioner Wright Bagby said.

The opioid panel discussion is scheduled for Tuesday's session.

Other items that day include possible uses of the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property, an audit of hotel/motel tax payments, changes in some personnel policies and the contract with Safari Hospitality to manage the Forum River Center.

"It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but the Safari agreement expires (this month)," McCord noted.

Today's agenda will cover the 2017 SPLOST and a discussion of space needs.

McCord has been looking for more room for court activities — which have grown beyond the capacity of the Rome-Floyd County Courthouse — and where to put tag, title and deed operations during remodeling of the Historic Courthouse. Other offices, such as elections and voter registration, also are cramped.

Revisions of the Animal Welfare Board makeup and the contract for the Wings Over North Georgia air show are among the other items on the table today.