0

Bell agrees to creation of SPLOST review committee

By Justin Boron

jboron@news-daily.com

Pushed by concerns over the realization of six new recreation centers, County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell Tuesday night agreed to a citizen review committee for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax initiative.

Bell said he was amenable to the formation of the committee after a woman at an Clayton County Branch NAACP forum asked for it.

"No problem, I would rather have it that way," he said.

The meeting, which three commissioners attended, addressed a broad range of issues including public safety, SPLOST, economic development, and the seemingly constant infighting that has taken hold of the government since the political turnover in January.

When challenged by Commissioner Wole Ralph and those at the meeting on SPLOST, Bell did admit the county government owed the community six recreation centers.

"Because it was sold at six, we ought to build six," he said. But he also said the county wasn't bound to build all of them by law.

The argument over what the county is legally obligated to do in the SPLOST has been one of the dividing points in the controversy fueled by the suggestion that the county may not be able to build all six centers.

Commissioner Carl Rhodenizer also said the county should build six but may have to cut the cost of them to do so.

When asked for a timetable on the centers, Bell said he couldn't give one. He said he regretted giving a 90-day deadline for the first center, which he did not meet at the beginning of June.

"Last time, I put my foot in my mouth, and Dexter Matthews tried to cram it down my throat," he said.

On the issue of political tension, the citizens also had an impact, offering to set up a meeting between all the disagreeing parties.

Ralph and Rhodenizer agreed to the meeting. Bell didn't say whether he would show up.