Commissioners weighing SPLOST manager job

JONESBORO — Clayton County may bring in some help to clear out a backlog of special purpose local option sales tax projects, including a few approved by voters nearly a decade ago.

There is a proposal to create a manager of capital improvements position to oversee the completion of previously approved SPLOST projects. It would be an unclassified, appointed position that reports to Chief Operating Officer Arrelle Anderson.

It would be a temporary position targeting projects from the county’s 2004 and 2009 taxes.

“We have ongoing SPLOST projects and we need somebody with the expertise to keep them on track to get them built,” said commission Chairman Jeff Turner.

With a new SPLOST expected to go before voters next year for approval, the county wants to get some of its past projects out of the way. That there is a backlog of unfinished projects dating back as far as the tax that began in 2004 is no secret. Commissioners came under criticism from several residents last year for sitting on unused sales tax funds.

A SPLOST cannot be levied without the approval of voters through a referendum. In the case of a county government tax, the seven cities also chose projects in their municipalities to be funded.

However, it is separate from another tax collected to fund school system projects.

How many projects have not been completed remains to seen, though. Because of the planned upcoming tax vote, officials wouldn’t confirm a number on the record. They would say, though, that it was a high number.

A couple different numbers were thrown around during a pre-meeting work session Tuesday, and based on those figures, the total number could at least be more than five dozen unfinished projects. Commissioners are expected to be presented with a list of outstanding projects before the position is voted on.

“There’s a whole bunch of SPLOST projects that have not been built out, so there are a number of projects that are still out there,” Turner told his colleagues during a pre-meeting discussion.

Anderson said the projects are being categorized in the areas of parks and recreation, public safety, transportation, senior services and library services.

It was expected to go before the commission this week for approval, but has been held so the project list can be put together. Bright said the manager of capital projects would be paid between $80,000 and $100,000 “depending on the quality of the applicants experience.”

In related news, commissioners approved the creation of a citizens committee to compile a project list for next year’s SPLOST vote. Each commissioner gets to nominate someone for a position on the committee. Committee members nominated and approved Tuesday include Piper Williams, Keith Parker, Genus Powell and Anthony Williams.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson was the only commissioner who did not nominate someone this week. He said he was not ready to put a name forward.