Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2023–12:32 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
The application deadline has passed, and now the work begins to narrow down the list of projects that will be included in a special purpose, local option sales tax package that will go to Rome, Floyd County, and Cave Spring voters this November.
During Tuesday’s joint services committee meeting, Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said there were approximately 65 submissions from citizens, totaling more than $200 million. Transportation improvements for Chulio Road were included in four separate applications submitted by citizens.
The need for improvements to Chulio Road was highlighted by residents of the area in 2021 when plans for a thousand single-family residences on just over 264 acres at Pleasant Valley and Chulio Road. That project, known as “Pleasant Valley Preserve” has lied dormant for a while, but is back on the radar, according to Rome City Manager Sammy Rich.
Several other transportation projects have been submitted including the widening of Old Dalton Road and Huffaker Road as well as improvements on Mango Road in the county and Williamson Road in the city.
“It looks like transportation may kind of be the lead this time,” McCord said. “I have a background in transportation, so I certainly want to see that. We need to be prepared for some of the growth that is coming. SPLOST is certainly a way to get there without issuing bonds or further burdening property owners.”
The committee discussed the possibility of having a six-year collection period instead of five years this time, with the sixth year being devoted to transportation projects.
“It’s just up to the committee and the two cities and the county to determine if they want to go that long,” McCord added. “You cannot go any longer than six, and two quarters is the minimum. Anywhere between six months and six years is our option.”
Now that a citizens SPLOST committee has been formed, the kickoff meeting is set for Apr. 24. The committee, which is charged with reviewing the proposed projects, will begin meeting in earnest on May 4, and will continue to meet weekly until they come up with a final project list that will be presented to the City of Cave Spring, the City of Rome, and Floyd County elected bodies for approval.
City Commission to discuss SPLOST during a called meeting Wednesday
Rome City Commissioners will begin discussing the prioritization of city projects they would like to see included in the SPLOST package during a called meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting begins at 4 p.m. in the Sam King Room at Rome City Hall.
“We’ll put some projects up on the board and try to go through an exercise of deciding what our official request as a city is,” Rich said. “There has been a lot of chatter already in the community as it relates to our LOST [Local Option Sales Tax] negotiations that will have us moving our police department. So, that is a big issue. We have another project for a new fire headquarters to replace the aged station that’s behind city hall downtown.”
According to Rich, there are also always going to be things that range from paving to new sidewalks, as well as considerations for water and sewer upgrades and extensions.
“There are a lot of things we will have an opportunity to go through and discuss,” he said. “Hopefully, we will come away with pretty clear-cut priority.”
One project that came up during Tuesday’s joint services committee meeting was the pitch from Rome City Commissioner Bill Collins for a water park. Collins, a long-time advocate for a water park, told the committee that he has been in discussions with two landowners regarding a possible location.