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Firm to oversee Juvenile Justice Center project

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has appointed a management firm to assist in the design and construction of a Juvenile Justice Center, one of several public safety improvements identified in the county's six-year, $305 million, 2008 SPLOST.

The board, on Tuesday, also voted to amend and readopt the county's official zoning map. As of Friday, residents will, for the first time, be able to identify the zoning of individual parcels from the county's web site.

On Tuesday, the board voted 3-1 (Clayton County Chairman Eldrin Bell against, and Commissioner Wole Ralph absent) to appoint Carter Goble Lee, a planning, design and management firm with a branch in Fayetteville, to manage SPLOST proceeds related to the construction of the Juvenile Justice Center. According to Rod Gray, director of Clayton County Central Services, Carter Goble Lee will be paid 3.25 percent of the total construction cost of the center to manage the project.

"On our previous SPLOST, we had a program manager," Gray said. "They were over the whole project. This [position] is for that one project. I'm not quite sure what the approach is going to be [for the other projects in the 2008 SPLOST]."

The SPLOST manager will "help us develop RFPs [requests for proposals] for the design and the construction phase" and "manage those phases as well," Gray said.

In a February 2008 referendum, Clayton County voters adopted a $305 million SPLOST. Over the life of the six-year SPLOST, the one-penny sales tax is meant to fund the construction of three new police precincts, a multi-purpose fire training facility, and the Juvenile Justice Center.

Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton said during a pre-meeting session that she believed the appointment of a SPLOST manager would allow the county to move forward on the promises of the 2008 SPLOST.

"I think we need to move forward on it because this is one of our priority projects," Singleton said. "We keep dragging it on."

In the pre-meeting session, Bell said he had "questions" about the appointment, but did not expand on those questions before, or during, Tuesday's regular business meeting.

Bell could not be reached, after the meeting, for comment.

According to Clayton County Staff Attorney Michael Smith, the estimated cost of the entire Juvenile Justice Center project is $15 million. He said the construction cost associated with the project would not be determined until after the design phase is complete.

In another matter, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a new and amended zoning map, which is expected to be available for viewing on the county's web site by Friday. The new map will be the first parcel-based map the county has ever used, according to Clayton County Zoning Administrator Kc Krzic.

"Before, there was no parcel data," Krzic said. "You could really only identify property from roadways and streams. This is accurate. They will be able to zoom in on their parcel and understand the zoning of it. This makes it easier for everyone across the board -- residents, developers and property owners."

Krzic said that in the future, the map may be layered to include tax information, permitting, and other statistical data.

"Basically, we can create an entire geographic information resource network, where all of the parcel information in the county can be linked," she said.

The Board of Commissioners also voted unanimously on Tuesday to re-approve the county's School Resource Officer (SRO) agreement with Clayton County Public Schools.

According to Clayton County Police Department Legal Advisor Maj. Ken Green, the county currently provides 16 officers, one sergeant, and one lieutenant to serve as SROs in six high schools, 10 middle schools, and one alternative school. According to the agreement, the county will pay 20 percent of the officers' salaries, and the school system will cover 80 percent, in additional to incidentals such as gas and car maintenance fees.

No changes occurred in the SRO contract from the previous year, according to county officials.