During the second SPLOST meeting between city and county governments, elected officials from Gordon County, Resaca, Fairmount, and Calhoun opted to allocate what would be funds for the city of Ranger to the city of Fairmount if the next SPLOST referendum passes in Nov. 2011.
The decision to Ranger’s fund allocation was made due to the fact that Ranger did not respond to requests to submit a project list.
“As far as Ranger goes, I think they chose not to be included when they decided not to submit a project list,” said County Commissioner Becky Hood.
According to Randy Dowling, county administrator, not every municipality in Gordon County is required to participate in SPLOST, but those who do receive funds must use those funds for the projects compiled at the beginning of each SPLOST term.
The money will now be allotted to Fairmount, the only city on the east side of the county to submit a list of proposed projects, the officials said. In the new intergovernmental agreement to be signed by all participating cities, the city of Fairmount will absorb Ranger’s .8 percent of the county’s population (approximately $67,000 over the next six years), which will bring Fairmount’s population for SPLOST purposes up to 4.9 percent of the county’s overall population.
“I just think that the money needs to be spent on the side of the county that it comes from,” said Commissioner Alvin Long. “… With Fairmount being the only elected officials on the east side of the county, I say give it to them.”
Ranger citizens, however, will still contribute to SPLOST collections with their sales tax money.
There are two options on the table on how to spend the funds and best benefit those citizens; one being the improvement and expansion of Fairmount’s volunteer fire department; the second is installing additional fire hydrants on that side of the county to benefit the citizens and the fire department.
The exact use for the money has yet to be determined and will be discussed by Fairmount officials and the county fire department.
“I personally have no problem with that,” said Mayor Jimmy Palmer of Calhoun about the redistribution of funds.
The county is currently predicting at least $700,000 a month for the next SPLOST collection, with a one-percent increase each year. These amounts should total $51.6 million over six years, Dowling told officials during the March intergovernmental SPLOST meeting.
Local officials were asked to submit project lists to the county by April 26 in so that the citys’ lists will have the chance to go to a vote before their respective municipal governments. The completed project list must be submitted to the Georgia Judicial Department before the end of June.
According to Bailey, these lists should be needs-based projects geared toward improving cities for their citizens.
“I think people see it’s not only the fairest way to do these projects, but these are things we need to get done,” said Long, including that if these projects are not completed the county will be far behind in improvements and unable to move forward.
An improved library
After the first intergovernmental meeting in early March, the county and city of Calhoun agreed to a joint SPLOST project to revamp the Calhoun-Gordon County Library.
According to Bailey, the city and county will split the cost down the middle, and the project will include an expansion of the building, a relocation of the building’s entrance, improvements to mechanical and electrical units and additional parking.
This project will cost approximately $800,000, and the current building is city property, said Eddie Peterson, city administrator.
“They have outgrown their facilities and this is a good project,” said Bailey.