Mayor Cartwright optimistic about SPLOST distribution question

LOVEJOY — Mayor Bobby Cartwright is in talks with other city officials to garner support in pursuing an audit of Clayton County’s SPLOST distributions.

Cartwright was permitted by council this month to pursue financial consultation to investigate whether all the county’s monthly collections of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax were divided up and dispersed properly to its cities.

Cartwright contends, based on preliminary research, that Lovejoy may be due as much as $350,000 from the 1-cent sales tax. He said a consultant would be able to investigate and identify any potential funds that were not allocated from the county to its cities by error or otherwise.

“I’ve drafted a letter to all the other mayors, and I am seeking a consensus from the seven,” he said.

Cartwright said he is sending letters to leaders in Forest Park, Morrow, Jonesboro, Riverdale, Lake City and College Park to help determine how to investigate SPLOST funding distributions among the municipalities. Cities use the monies to fund specific capital improvement projects such as road maintenance and repairs, and park amenities.

“The public has asked lots and lots and lots of questions about unfinished projects,” said Cartwright.

Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner said he spoke with Cartwright and looks forward to working with him to find if there are discrepancies in SPLOST distributions.

Turner said the county finance department has reported no discrepancies in its SPLOST distributions for 2004 or 2009.

He said the county’s chief financial officer, Ramona Thurmond, is checking into the situation. But as of Wednesday, there were no discrepancies found.

“Chairman Turner and the commissioners have worked well with the cities,” said Cartwright. “The chairman has been very willing to sit down with the mayors on our different outlooks.

“I think it is more of a housekeeping issue,” he continued. “I’m not concerned about it. We’re definitely not having a disagreement. We’ve just got to look at the figures. It’s just a facts-finding mission.”