Committee discusses SPLOST project funding, police relocations

Tuesday, February 6, 2024–2:52 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

In November, voters approved a six-year special purpose, local option sales tax referendum, and now city and county officials have started discussion on how the projects will be prioritized and paid for.

On Tuesday, Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord told the Rome-Floyd Joint Services Committee that the projects can be funded via cash flow as the SPLOST proceeds come in, or they could issue bonds. However, now isn’t the best time to borrow money due to higher interest rates.

“We spoke with bond counsel over the last couple of weeks,” McCord said. “We could issue up to $50 million within the referendum, and the debt service would be about $9 million. The issuance is around $750,000. So, around 20 percent of your collections are going to go to debt service and issuance costs.”

To put that $9 million debt service number into perspective, McCord said that is the estimated cost of the Chulio Road and Mango Road projects.

Another option could be to do a combination of bonds and cash flow funding.

For the City of Rome, the construction of a new headquarters for the city police department is considered a priority SPLOST project. However, since the city has secured a temporary location in the former Scott Logistics Building off Technology Parkway, the city has some breathing room as far as the timing of construction of the new permanent headquarters.

According to Rome City Manager Sammy Rich, the goal is to be moved into the temporary headquarters in March or April.

“We have had Multi-Craft Construction out there and they have been working feverishly to get that building transformed so we can move the Rome Police Department out there,” he said. “I was out there a couple of weeks ago, and a lot of stud walls are standing and progress is being made. They are probably a lot further along since my last site visit.”

Close to $22.5 million was included in the latest SPLOST package for construction of the new city police headquarters.

McCord also updated the committee on the renovation of the former Glenwood Primary School, which will serve as the new Floyd County PD headquarters. It is expected to go out for bids in the next couple of weeks.

“It’s mostly internal building, so I feel pretty good about it,” McCord said. “There is not a lot of demolition, except for the bathrooms. The toilets are about six inches off the ground, so they will have to do some bathroom renovations. Hopefully, we can get bids in March, have them approved sometime in late March or early April, and then be on the road to construction this summer. Again, we are hoping for six months for construction so we can be moved in by the end of the year.”

The moves of both the city and county police departments are the result of a local sales tax distribution agreement reached in 2022. Under that agreement, Floyd County assumed 100 percent ownership of the joint law enforcement center, which will now be converted to additional courtroom space.

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