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SPLOST Citizens' Oversight kicks off
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County unveils plans for $75 million SPLOST funds (March 6, 2010)
SPLOST Citizens' Oversight Committee volunteers named
(June 21, 2010)


Transportation Subcommittee members, as of Monday evening

  • Tamae Partain
  • Sue Chappel
  • Ed Conway
  • Elaine Nash
  • Garvin Haynes
  • Charles Stapley
  • Fred Straub
  • Charles Chance

Oversight Committee members, as of Monday evening

  • John Bower
  • Mac Broughton
  • Bill Campbell
  • Charles Chance
  • Sue Chappel
  • Ed Conway
  • Frank Culbreath
  • Kysa Daniels
  • Josie Dean
  • Chip Hatcher
  • Garvin Haynes
  • Mike Houchard
  • Bill Hughey
  • Alan Jones
  • Barbara Kilpatrick
  • Craig McCullough
  • Don Meyer
  • Julie Mills
  • Elaine Nash
  • Tamae Partain
  • Sam Smiley
  • Anita Smith
  • Charles Staples
  • Fred Straub
  • Mo Talley
  • Phyllis Turner
  • Buck Vaughn
  • Earnelle Winfrey


About 30 volunteers gathered Monday evening in the first of what will be six years of meetings and work to oversee the projects and funding of the latest Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which takes effect April.

The new SPLOST, or 1-cent sales tax, is estimated to collect $75 million over six years and was approved by voters in July 2010. It will begin just as the current SPLOST, which was approved in 2004, sunsets in March.

After introductions, Oversight Committee Chair Phyllis Turner opened by reminding members that despite their strong opinions on issues, their purpose was to make sure the SPLOST projects came in on budget.

“No projects will be able to go over budget,” she said.

The evening was spent explaining how the SPLOST works and the seven subcommittee areas and projects: Transportation, chaired by Mike Houchard, Water, chaired by Chip Hatcher, Emergency Service and 911, chaired by Bill Hughey, Sheriff and Jail, chaired by Charles Staples, Parks and Recreation, chaired by Craig McCullough, Finance, chaired by Fred Straub. Kysa Daniels will chair the communications committee.


Straub explained that this SPLOST would be different than the last because it had significantly less bonding and would instead wait on funds as they were collected over six years.

“This is the pay-as-you-go SPLOST,” Straub said.

About $10 million has been bonded for transportation projects and $3 million for water projects for the coming SPLOST. Last time, about $40 million in bonds were taken out initially.


Transportation has the largest allocation of SPLOST funds to the county - $33 million, of which $20 million is for resurfacing, $4.5 million is to establish a maintenance program, about $1.5 to $2.5 million for administrative costs, and $5 million to leverage as matching funds for state and federal dollars.

Houchard described possibly issuing five 1-year, $4 million rounds of resurfacing contracts.

The subcommittee will determine which roads are on the resurfacing project list, based on a ratings system. The last comprehensive survey of the approximately 500 miles of county-maintained roads found about 150 miles were in poor to bad condition, said Houchard.

Emergency Service/911

In addition to replacing the analog 911 communications system with a digital system, the project list also includes replacing four fire engines or apparatuses and replacing or renovating two fire stations, costing about $1.5 million each.

Fire station no. 2, on Troupe Smith Road, was determined in 2009 to be in a flood plain and will be relocated to Cowan Road and Ga. Highway 20. According to Hughey, the new location will allow a 30 percent increase of addresses that can be covered within a 4 minute response time.

Fire station no. 3 on Old Salem Road will be renovated.

Sheriff’s Office/Jail

About $5 million will go to the Sheriff’s Office for expanding the third floor of the administrative building by 5,600 square feet and completing a second elevator, completing the renovation of the old portion of the jail, building a women’s work release center, and building a southside precinct building. Some of that money will also go towards finishing things that had to be cut from the list when the jail expansion project from the 2004 SPLOST was found to be about $6 million over budget.


A 10 million emergency storage tank, which can store about 1 day’s worth of water for Rockdale County, will cost about $3 million to $7 million.

About  $7 million to $9 million will go to replacing aging water pipe, some installed in the 1950s, said Hatcher.


The members also discussed looking for a noticeable project that could be completed relatively quickly, such as building a southside precinct building to replace the double-wide trailer currently used, so voters could see a tangible result of their tax dollars.

Because it takes about two months for collections to go to the state and back to the county, the first remittances will be coming in June, said Straub.

Subcommittees will spend March, April, and May determining the project priority lists and drawing up budgets. If collections for this SPLOST are less than expected, projects will need to be cut. If collections are more than expected, 50 percent of the excess will go to transportation, 25 percent to the sheriff’s office, and 25 percent to water.

Oversight Committee meetings will be on the last Mondays of the month and will be monthly, starting in April.

The city of Conyers, which will receive about 15.25 percent, or $11 million, of the $75 million, has its own oversight committee.

The current SPLOST funded projects such as the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library renovation, jail expansion, and new fire stations. The funds collected can only go to capital projects, not operations, and to the areas spelled out on the ballot that was approved by voters.