On March 19 voters will decide whether to continue SPLOST (special-purpose local-option sales tax) for another five years. The penny-on-a-dollar tax is expected to generate about $60 million to pay for a host of proposed projects.
For now, Catoosa County, Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe have culled their proposed projects to $66 million, Helton said. In November they had a wish list totaling more than $100 million.
The county Board of Commissioners will meet at 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4, for another work session to try and hone the list closer to $60 million.
The current SPLOST, which began in 2009 after getting the go-ahead from voters, will end in 2014. By then it will have generated about $53 million.
Of the $60 million from the new SPLOST, about $8 million will go for Fort Oglethorpe projects and about $3 million will go for Ringgold projects. The remainder, about $49 million, will go for county projects.
The proposed list of projects does not include $6 million for a jail/detention center expansion requested by sheriff Gary Sisk. That project was initially on the wish list but has been cut.
Helton said Sisk is looking for a commitment for a "plan B" to ensure that the expansion takes place, with other funding. This could be in the form of a bond issue, the county manager said.
Just as in 2009, sewers remain a primary concern for the new SPLOST. Between the Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold area basins, officials currently have $10.6 million penciled in, compared to more than $15.7 million in 2009.
Catoosa Utility is looking at an increase of $3 million to a total of $7 million for updating and replacing waterlines to meet hydrant needs and public safety guidelines.
The recreation program, which includes Boynton, county recreation, Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold Youth Athletic Association, is currently set for $3,215,000 in funds.
In public safety, the county fire department is tentatively slated for $3.7 million in fire and rescue equipment and $2.5 million in building upgrades.
The non-funded request for the jail expansion withstanding, newly sworn-in sheriff Sisk is looking at receiving $2.1 million for 68 new patrol cars (seven new cars were previously approved at the Dec. 18 commissioners’ meeting), $255,830 for a radio cache and $658,569 for 911 center upgrades.
County roads and bridges are tentatively approved for $9,210,000 in upgrades, while county vehicles and equipment are tagged for $2,264,500 in proposed expenditures.
Repair and upgrades to county buildings and grounds received an allotment of $810,000.
Storm water expenditures are down by over 50 percent in the 2014 SPLOST, coming in at a proposed $4.5 million. $5.3 million is slated to go towards debt retirement.