SPLOST collections ahead of schedule

SPLOST collections ahead of schedule

CONYERS — Collections for Rockdale County’s 2011 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax continue to exceed projections and a number of SPLOST-funded projects are moving forward.

Members of the SPLOST Oversight Committee were told at a Jan. 27 meeting that collections as of November had totaled more than $36.8 million. Collections in November were $1.13 million, exceeding projections by $91,000.

Tax collections for this SPLOST began in April 2011 and will conclude in March 2017. The total goal for collections is $74.9 million. December 2012 recorded the highest rate of collections at $296,000 over goal; collection totals for December 2013 are not yet available.

Under the 2011 SPLOST, projects are funded as the money is collected. The city of Conyers will receive a total of $11 million for its projects; the county’s portion will fund projects for transportation, law enforcement and emergency services, water resources, senior services and parks and recreation. Transportation projects will get the biggest slice of the pie, with plans to spend about $20 million to resurface county roads.

Two major transportation projects for 2014 are: reconnecting Old Covington Highway with Green Street, under Ga. Highway 138 and behind The Home Depot, and improvements to the intersections of Gees Mill Road and Sigman Road and North Salem, Sigman Road and Old Covington roads.

Renovation of a portion of the Rockdale County Jail will also be funded through the SPLOST collections. Rockdale County awarded a contract to New South Construction of Atlanta to manage pre-construction and construction phases of the project at cost plus 3.5 percent. Total cost of the renovations is expected to be between $2 million and $2.3 million, according to the county.

The project will include renovation of a courtroom, 36-bed dormitory, hallways, holding cells, offices and training room.

Another major SPLOST-funded project in the works is a $4.5 million enhanced digital 911 system, which is in the final stages of testing. Testing is expected to take place at least through the remainder of February before the county accepts the system and the old analog radio system is taken offline.

Other project requests that will be presented to the Board of Commissioners this year for funding include:

• $300,000 to convert the recreation center and softball field at Johnson Park from septic to sewer system;

• $110,000 to replace the pavilion roof at Pine Log Park, convert two tennis courts to basketball courts, and replace the restrooms;

• $45,000 to add a maintenance restroom at Earl O’Neal Park and renovate an existing public restroom.