SPLOST planning moves forward

By Greg Gelpi

Clayton County discussed moving one step closer to spending the estimated $240 million raised by a special purpose local option sales tax.

Department of Transportation and Development Director A. Wayne Patterson addressed the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday regarding methods of choosing engineers for SPLOST and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority projects.

Using a flow chart, Patterson outlined his proposal during the county's regular work session. The county would select three or four engineering firms from a pre-approved list and then brief the subgroup of engineers on the specific project.

The engineers would research the project and what they would need to do in order to complete the project, briefing the board on specifics of the job, including the costs of completing the job.

The county's management team would then select the engineers based on their price proposals.

After a firm is selected, the process is repeated.

"In a few months, you theoretically have all of the firms working," Patterson said. "We're done qualifying engineers, which is the hardest part."

Thirteen engineering firms qualified for county projects, but the board expressed an interest in adding more minority firms to the list.

"My only concern is that we make sure everyone is comfortable with our initial list," Board Chairman Crandle Bray said.

The current list of engineering firms are Parsons Brinkerhoff; ARCADIS; Moreland Altobelli; B&E Jackson; Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc.; McGee Associates; Wilbur Smith Associates; Chasman; Pond & Co.; JJ&G; TransCore; ITERIS and Day Wilburn.

The process would reduce the "hours and hours and hours" of reviewing bids, Patterson said. The proposal would also reduce the costs of future bids, since firms would file less bids and, therefore, have no need to recoup the costs in future bids.

In other business, the board reviewed a list of proposed purchases of more than $170,000, including an $81,545 dump truck; three appointments to the Hospital Authority Board; selling and assigning drug seizures and amending county animal and fire prevention and protection ordinances.

The Board of Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to take action on the items they discussed at their work session. The meeting will take place in the board room of the county annex.

SPLOST funds are raised through a 1-cent sales tax for road improvement projects, safety projects, a senior center and completion of the county's 10-year master plan for parks and recreations.

Construction for the first road project is scheduled to begin in June 2005.