JONESBORO — Five recreation centers promised nine years ago have yet to be built, and some of the sales tax dollars intended to pay for them has been wasted on studies, according to the head of a citizens watchdog group.
The Clayton County Citizens Oversight Committee, which was formed two weeks ago to monitor county government spending, began its search of finance records with what some might say is a thud.
Actually, it’s the kind of loud thud heard when a large stack of requests for records — about two dozen requests, to be exact — is dropped on a table. The group filed more than a dozen open records requests this week for finance records — mainly pertaining to records of the account which holds funds raised by the county’s 2004 SPLOST.
Committee President Carl Swensson said the group has uncovered evidence that while $208 million has been sitting in accounts for the 2004 and 2009 SPLOSTs, what little money is being spent from the accounts has been used on items such as “road-related studies.”
“There’s very little actual work being done, but you’ll see a lot of money is being spent on consultants to do studies,” Swensson said.
The Clayton News Daily obtained access to one of the group’s records requests. In the request, the group indicates $1.45 million in funds from the account for the county’s 2004 SPLOST has been transferred to an unspecified account for an unspecified reason.
“Specifically, who authorized ... the $1,456,879.13 transfer[s], where was it transferred to, for what purpose was it transferred, to whom was the check[s] made out to and for what amounts if more than one was issued?” the request states.
The group is asking the county to provide documents such as notes and correspondence “evidencing authorization for this expenditure.”