Upson County, along with Thomaston and Yatesville, is in the process of discussing a SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) referendum to be placed on the ballot for November of this year. The topic of what projects are typically paid for from the one cent sales tax came up at an Upson County Board of Commission meeting earlier this month and the main one discussed by the board is the paving of county roads.
The subject was first brought up when County Manager Jim Wheeless stated three bids had been received for the paving of Delray Road from Highway 36 to Highway 19. The companies who bid for the project were CW Matthews for $639,294.77; Robertson Paving Company for $636,860.41; and Georgia Asphalt for $619,347.01; the contract was awarded to Georgia Asphalt since they had the lowest bid. Wheeless stated there is a little over $400,000 available for the project from the LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) funding; however there is a 30 percent match of the funds. He noted the roughly $125,000 will come out of the 2011 SPLOST money designated for roads.
Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston stated it is by using the SPLOST funds projects like this can be completed.
“Additional money that we are putting into it (paving of Delray Road) comes from our SPLOST funds, that one cent sales tax which is a hundred some odd thousand dollars we are putting into local money,” said Blackston. “So, that’s where your SPLOST money goes. We may need to put signs up (to let people know what is paid for by SPLOST). We couldn’t have paved Delray Road without it.”
Commissioner Steve Hudson added that if the citizens of Upson County did not pass another SPLOST to continue when the current one runs out next year, then the county can forget about paving any other roads because the money just isn’t there. County Manager Wheeless also noted that through the SPLOST and LMIG funds, the county has paved 11 roads since he became manager in December 2012 without using any tax payer money for the matching funds. However, if the county does not have the matching funds for the LMIG, that money will simply go away. Upson County is slated to receive roughly $413,616 in next year’s LMIG, and while it is beneficial that the amount of funds given is going up, that also means the 30 percent match will be higher too, giving even more need for the SPLOST funding.
Wheeless also updated the board on some other projects to consider placing on the SPLOST list. He stated the roof at the Government Complex was put on in 2000 and any issues are no longer covered under warranty. He also added the roofs at the Senior Center and the Worthy Gym are also in need of being replaced before too long.
“We are going to have to look into the next SPLOST and make sure we put enough money in to cover these,” said Wheeless.
He continued, stating he has met with the City of Thomaston and both governments are interested in pursuing a six year, $16 million SPLOST and are currently working on an intergovernmental agreement for the issue. If they decide to move forward with a SPLOST vote in November, Wheeless stated all documents, including the list of projects and wording for the ballot, have to be into the state by August 31. The board agreed they would need to plan some work sessions to work on the SPLOST in the upcoming weeks.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1