With the current 1-cent special purpose, local option sales tax set to expire June 30, Rome and Floyd County officials are working to get a new referendum on the November ballot.
If it passes, the new tax would create much-needed revenue for things like facility improvements and public works projects.
But the funds generated also could be used to build new recreation opportunities for people in the community.
One such project that the Rome City Commission recently discussed was the possibility of building a new aquatics center.
Plans for an aquatics center were originally part of the Sportsplex building that was intended to be built near State Mutual Stadium, but the project was connected to the failed 2005 SPLOST referendum.
County commissioners decided to seek a redesign of the facility before the SPLOST was finalized and took out the estimated $7.5 million center.
City Manager John Bennett said a good place for an aquatics center by itself would be next to the Rome Senior Center on Riverside Parkway.
“I think one of our biggest users of this facility would be our senior citizens,” Bennett said. “There is a great opportunity for them to exercise there.”
Commissioners threw out details such as having a zero-entry pool and making it L-shaped to increase usage.
Commissioner Jamie Doss said talking with other cities that have aquatics centers has made him feel like it would be a profitable venture for the city.
“It would give Rome another selling point,” Doss said. “Along with senior citizens, I think it would attract all ages and I would love to have a place where people can learn to swim.”
With the North Rome Swim Center finishing in the black recently at the end of each season when it is open, Doss said the need is there.
“That is a very popular destination, not only for people want to use the slide, but it attracts people from all over Northwest Georgia,” Doss said.
Bennett also said the playground equipment located in the city parks needs to be replaced. He said even the equipment at Ridge Ferry Park, which is some of the newest among the city’s parks, is old and has seen a lot of use.
One way that was recommended to help cut down on how often the equipment needs to be replaced is to construct canopies, in order to keep water and sun damage to a minimum.
Bennett said another idea is to install a surface around all playground equipment that would be similar to a running track surface.
Rome officials will present a formal list of projects to the Rome-Floyd SPLOST Citizen Committee as part of its submission process. The SPLOST committee will recommend a package and elected officials would have the final say on what appears on the Nov. 5 ballot.
If the referendum passes, the state requires the effective date of the tax to be on the first day of the next calendar quarter that is more than 80 days after the election when it was approved.
That means the SPLOST would not take effect until April 1, 2014 if voters approve it.
The tax could last for up to five years — six years under certain stipulations brought on by intergovernmental agreements.
Recent Rome-Floyd SPLOSTS have been much shorter as the list of projects has been smaller. The current tax was slated to last for 36 months when it began in July, 2010.