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Clayton County commissioners reject proposed SPLOST manager position for a second time

JONESBORO — Clayton County commission Chairman Jeff Turner indicated this week that he is ready to give up on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax manager position that his fellow commissioners have now rejected twice.

A manager of capital improvements position that commissioners previously shot down Oct. 18 was put down again this week when the county’s elected leaders voted 3-2 against it. The position is essentially a SPLOST manager position intended to clear out a backlog of at least five dozen unfinished projects from the last two special sales taxes approved by voters.

That makes two strikes for Turner in nearly two months with this proposed position. He doesn’t plan to try for a third.

“No, I don’t plan on it,” said Turner. “One of the other commissioners can. The way I operate is the first time they vote something down, if I think it’s a needed position or serious issue and it gets voted down, then my thing is to provide more information and then bring it back.

“We presented it twice and I know additional information was provided, but for whatever reason — and I can’t answer for the other four [commissioners] — it still did not pass,” he added.

The 3-2 vote against creating the position is the same vote tally as the previous decision against the position Oct. 18. However, things were slightly different this time as the make-up of who was for and against it changed.

That’s because two commissioners flipped their stances on the position.

Commissioner Shana Rooks, who supported it in October, voted against it this time. Similarly, Vice-Chairman Michael Edmondson had previously voted against the position but supported it this week.

County officials have sought the position because of a backlog of unfinished projects from the SPLOSTs voters approved in 2003 and 2008. Officials have previously said the pileup of incomplete and yet-to-be started projects totals at least five dozen.

Among the unfinished project is the last of the recreation centers voters approved a decade ago as part of the SPLOST that began in 2004. It was expected to be built on Stockbridge Road, on the outskirts of the Jonesboro, but work at that site was scrapped because of land issues. A possible site at nearby Clayton County International Park is now being considered.

At the same time, a citizens committee is compiling a list of projects for a new SPLOST expected to go before voters for approval in May. That proposed tax is expected to generate about a quarter of a million dollars. Officials have been hesitant to talk about the backlog out of fear it will hurt the 2015 SPLOST’s chances of being approved by voters.