Rome and Floyd County voters will decide the fate of a new $110 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales package at the polls on November 7.
“The project list we have this go-round is not a pie-in-the-sky wish list; these are needed projects,” said Rome attorney Bob Berry, who chaired a Citizens Advisory Committee that developed the project list.
The largest items in the package are $22,481,289 for a new City of Rome police headquarters, $10.6 million for Floyd County paving and infrastructure, and $10 million for acquisition of land for economic development.
Berry explains that a SPLOST tax includes as much as 35-40% of money paid by people from out of town. The advisory committee, with appointees from Floyd County and the cities of Rome and Cave Spring, listened to proposals from private community residents and government officials for nearly two months before supporting the list of the projects that will go before voters. “Honestly, it went very smoothly,” Berry said.” There was good conversation about some projects, but nobody was pounding any fists on the table. They were a very collegial group and serious about the work.”
The committee included Cleve Jackson, Mike Burnes, Wendy Davis, Evie McNiece, Nick McLemore, Sam Burrell Jr., Monica Sheppard, and Jake Hager. Corey Townsend, Brad Doyle, and Keara Leonard, with LaDonna Collins and Melvon Ingram serving as alternates. The alternates were allowed to participate throughout the entire process of vetting proposals. Berry believes the package does not include any albatross projects that might draw a lot of criticism and negative feedback. Berry said a SPLOST is the best way to finance the projects.
|Public Safety projects ticketed for $38,491,289.|
|Rome-Floyd Fire Department||Capital Projects||$5,750,000|
|Rome Police||New Headquarters Facility||$22,481,289|
|Floyd Police||Training Facility||$2,000,000|
|Floyd Police||Secure Parking/Evidence Facility||$270,000|
|Floyd County Jail||Improvements||$2,890,000|
|Floyd County Prison||Improvements||$1,900,000|
|Public Works and Transportation projects are allocated $32.80 million.|
|County Public Works||Capital Projects||$4,048,000|
|Park Ave and Dragon Drive||Turn Lane||$1,200,000|
|County paving and infrastructure||$10,600,000|
|City paving and infrastructure||$6,500,000|
|Eden Valley Road||Improvements||$160,000|
|Three Mile Road||Improvements||$1,800,000|
|Water and Sewer projects were allocated $13.5 million.|
|Cave Spring Water||Line Replacement||$3,000,000|
|Highway 411||Water Expansion||$3,400,000|
|Enterprise Corner 411||Sewer Expansion||$4,500,000|
|County Southeast||Water Line Extension||$2,600,000|
|Quality of Life projects are targeted to receive $11.46 million.|
|Garden Lakes Park||$2,500,000|
|Lock & Dam Park||$235,000|
|North Floyd Park||$235,000|
|Shag Williams Park (Shannon)||$235,000|
|Wolfe Park (Lindale)||$235,000|
|Jackson Hill to Ridge Ferry Park Boardwalk||$2,000,000|
|Eagle Park (North Rome)||$550,000|
|Oostanaula Paddle in Campground||$850,000|
|Ridge Ferry Park ramp replacement||$60,000|
|Technology and Infrastructure projects would net $3.73 million.|
|Cave Spring Elementary||Roof Repair||$200,000|
|Rome Clocktower||Structural Repair||$800,000|
The economic development effort has been earmarked $10 million.
Rome and Floyd County have only rejected three sales tax packages since 1986. The first time community leaders tried to raise money for a minor league baseball stadium in 1992, voters said no. A school project list failed in 1998, and a multi-purpose package was defeated in 2005
Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said the City Police headquarters facility is probably the signature project on this package. Almost a third of the entire package can be linked to a year ago’s decision to turn over the Joint Law Enforcement Center to Floyd County for court purposes. If that deal had not occurred, much of the new SPLOST package might have focused on a new judicial center. The E-911 center will remain on the second floor of the current law enforcement building, with the first and third floors expected to be earmarked for Magistrate, Probate, and Juvenile Court use.
The Floyd County Police will move to the former Glenwood school campus, which will require significant renovations.
The new Rome Police facility could come in the form of renovations to an existing building or an entirely new facility altogether. The police need approximately 30,000 feet. City Manager Sammy Rich said that he is trying to find a centrally located space because, in addition to the police, the facility will also house the Municipal Court.
McCord said that some of the recreation projects countywide should also be attractive to voters as splash pads are planned for several parks. The infields at the Alto Park baseball and softball complex are slated to get artificial turf, as are some of the soccer/multi-purpose fields at Garden Lakes Park. Artificial turf will be installed at the ball fields at Etowah Park, which will be renamed Veterans Park at Etowah.
McCord also believes the $10 million for economic development work will be critical to helping attract new jobs to the community. Water and sewer projects out 411 East and in the Southeast part of the county will be important to future growth.
The money earmarked for improving Chulio Road, taking out some curves, and leveling some of the hilly terrain will be important to the growth foreseen in that part of the community.
The SPLOST vote is set for November 7 in conjunction with city municipal elections.