Meeting at the Emergency Operations Center, the 12-member group laid out the plan Tuesday evening for how they will approach the problem of selecting the projects for funding through a 1-cent special purpose, local option sales tax. A package is slated to be on November’s ballot.
“It shows the immensity of what is before us,” Committee Chairman David Newby said. “As a committee, we have to know these projects and — once we make the recommendation to the city and county governments — be fully versed in them to be able to answer questions from the public,” Newby said. “We have to be marketers for this SPLOST.”
Floyd County Finance Director Gary Burkhalter said they are aiming for a 5-year SPLOST that, based on his staff’s projections, would raise $60 million to $63 million.
The current 1-cent SPLOST collection expires June 30. Members will begin hearing presentations on each project at their next meeting, June 6, and plan to continue on a weekly basis throughout the month.
Newby said he would like to have a final recommendation ready to turn in to the county, Rome and Cave Spring on Aug. 1.
One of the seven projects proposed by Floyd County Public Works is a new facility for the Rome-Floyd Recycling Center, which officials agree has outgrown its current building on Watters Street in North Rome.
“We’re really packed in tight down there,” said County Public Works Director Michael Skeen. “Right now we’re having to dump, sort and store materials outside.”
The application requests $8.2 million in SPLOST funds — $2.5 million to purchase a building with at least 100,000 square feet, and $5.7 million for new equipment to make the sorting and baling process of raw materials more efficient.
Recycling Center Director Mark Skeggs said the current facility, which includes the production building and warehouse, is approximately 31,000 square feet.
“A larger facility would allow us to store materials in down markets and ensure that they are protected from the elements,” Skeggs said. “Right now, we’re taking a loss by having to sell some materials because we don’t have any room.”
Public works officials estimate the expenses for yearly operation of the new facility at $834,900 and annual revenue at just more than $1 million, due in part to the increased capacity.
Skeen said if the project is recommended for the upcoming SPLOST package and approved by local governments, the current facility would remain in operation until the new one is up and running.
Rome City Manager John Bennett told the committee that, while it is a daunting task to choose what projects will move forward, it is important to listen to what everyone brings to the presentations.
“Some of the projects are not all or nothing,” Bennett said. “Some can be done for less than they estimate on their proposals. But some won’t happen if there is not at least some SPLOST money available to them.”
PROPOSED SPLOST PROJECTS
Industrial property $15,000,000
USTA Tennis Center $14,115,000
Jackson Hill Tourism Center $250,000
Sewer expansion for industry $1,116,000
Airport runway extension $5,761,000
Connect with Safe Trails* no cost listed
Expand trail connectivity $1,900,000
Animal shelter* $3,500,000
New animal control facility $6,006,000
Fairview School restoration* $380,000
City Auditorium update $2,370,000
Vann Cherokee Cabin* $1,155,000
Fannin Hall rehab $2,591,000
Downtown Visitor Center $50,000
Case management software $300,000
New recycling center $8,255,000
Fire trucks, facility upgrade $2,550,000
County police training center $2,063,000
City police facility upgrade $377,000
County energy efficiency $1,700,000
Courthouse expansion $12,500,000
Jail improvements $1,900,000
Jail medical/mental health $6,700,000
GSP driver service facility $5,700,000
The Forum upgrade $2,000,000
Unity Point/S. Broad bridge $2,458,000
Everett Springs water line* $7,500,000
Huffaker Road* no cost listed
Huffaker Road & water $8,760,000
Old Dalton Road & water $8,900,000
Chulio Road & water $4,820,000
Rome traffic projects $4,636,000
Chulio Hills bus entrance $853,000
Barron, Calhoun roads $120,000
Sewer improvements $2,310,000
County infrastructure $6,065,000
County equipment $4,000,000
Texas Valley infrastructure $4,650,000
Broad Street streetscape $1,600,000
Rome streets, mill & pave $1,500,000
Playground improvements $3,000,000
Sports complex improvements $5,000,000
Aquatic center & splash park $14,000,000
* project submitted by a resident
Source: SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee