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Proposals stacking up for Floyd County's 2023 SPLOST package
By Adam Carey,
The deadline is March 30 for project submissions to be considered in the 2023 SPLOST package that will be put before voters in November.
A 1-cent special purpose, local option sales tax can be levied by any county to fund the building and maintenance of parks, schools, roads and other public facilities. A SPLOST can last for a maximum of five years.
At this time, Floyd County has received approximately 18 submissions from residents and government departments. The Cave Spring City Council was expected to decide on its proposal late Tuesday night.
City and county officials have taken pains to explain that the earlier a citizen submission was received, the more opportunity that they will have to study a project’s feasibility — which increases the chances that it will be added to the ballot.
“What we know from previous SPLOSTs is that the projects need to be more thoroughly examined before being presented to voters,” Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said in February. “Because it’s OK if you are only given 80% of a budget for asphalt paving, but not when you’re building a structure. You can’t fund 50% of a building; you need to get it completed.”
Another issue is that SPLOST funds cannot be used to pay for city or county employee salaries. That can become an issue when new parks or facilities are proposed, because the city or county will have to shell out additional funds to staff and operate those facilities.
The more professional review the project receives, the more confidant officials will have in projecting final costs.
“When voters approve projects in November, we might not begin building for a year after that,” Rome City Manager Sammy Rich said in February. “So costs can change. So these proposals need to account for possible changing costs for labor and materials as well.”
The current proposals include:
♦ $1.5 million for asphalt paving for Mango Road near Model High and Elementary Schools. The proposal states a paved Mango Road would provide a good alternate to Calhoun Road and provide access to property where new homes could be built.
♦ A 1.5 mile walking/bike trail in Cave Spring next to Perry Farm Road. The proposal states there is currently no place for seniors to walk, children to ride bikes and parents to push strollers for an outing.
♦ $50,000 in improvements to Eagle Park, including a walking track and improvements to the playground and ballfield.
♦ $800,000 for improvements to the City of Rome Clock Tower, which needs structural repairs to stabilize the tower.
♦ $250,000 for water and sewer improvements in East Rome around East 10th Street. The proposal states the area suffers from a lack of water pressure and there haven’t been repairs in decades, perhaps as long as 80 years.
♦ $2 million in renovations for the Floyd County Prison, including new generators, steel interior doors, intercom and inmate plumbing. The proposal states the structure is 25 years old and designed as a lower security prison than what it’s currently used for.
♦ Add sidewalks and widen Old Summerville Road from Mount Berry Mall to U.S. 27.
♦ Sidewalks on Williamson Street from Shorter Avenue to Wilkerson Road. The proposal states the road has a lot of foot traffic, including lots of children on bicycles. It would also improve property values.
♦ Silver Comet Trail connection to Cave Spring. The Silver Comet is a 60+ mile long paved walking and biking path from Smyrna to the Alabama border, where it connects to the 33 mile long Chief Ladiga Trail.
♦ $1.7 million to add up to 10 large T hangars to the county’s Richard B. Russell Regional Airport. The proposal states it would allow for more aircraft, increasing operations and helping sell more fuel, which both help the airport financially.
♦ $8,400 for broadband access for the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority Envision Center on Brookwood Avenue. The center provides free educational classes to all citizens of Rome and Floyd County.
♦ $100,000 for a study about possibly moving the Floyd County Board of Education building from its current location on Riverside Parkway. The proposal states BOE has been in that location for decades, and the intersection with Chatillon Road is dangerous and very congested.
♦ Feasibility study for renovating the former O’Neill Manufacturing site at Riverside Parkway. The proposal states the site has environmental problems that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
♦ A $20 million request from the Rome-Floyd Development Authority and the Floyd County Development Authority to purchase land for industrial recruitment.
♦ A request to improve the safety of the Riverside Parkway intersections at Chatillon Road and Veterans Memorial Highway.
There are also some submissions which did not necessarily follow the requirements, including request for a new roof on a private home, a small chicken coop at a private residence and a request for Rome and Floyd County to discontinue all services except for the fire and police departments and privatize all other services.