By KRYSTAL RINER
People often question elected officials on the time span of projects and the amount of money they cost.
In Houston County, the residents have faithfully passed a one-penny sales tax to accommodate the needs for growth and to keep the county up with the times.
As the county embarks on a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) some might wonder if all the revenue collected from the 2001 and 2006 SPLOST are spent. The answer is yes. Most of the 2001 and 2006 county SPLOST projects are complete or underway.
Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker credits the hard-working county employees for the timely completion of these projects.
“It’s because of our staff we are able to stay under schedule and the majority of the time on our under budget on our projects,” Stalnaker.
In the 2001 SPLOST the countywide projects totaled $57,500,000, while the unincorporated areas had $10,821,250 allocated for roads, streets and bridges, all of which are complete.
The major road projects from the 2001 SPLOST include: South Houston Lake Road from Cohen Walker Drive to Hwy 341, Russell Parkway Extension, North Houston Lake Road, Moody Road North of Hwy 96, Feagin Mill Road from Houston Lake to Lake Joy, Ball Street extension, Corder Road and Carl Vinson Parkway.
As part of the 2001 SPLOST 16 miles of dirt roads were to be paved. As of today Stalnaker said, out of the 12 roads, seven of them are complete.
Davis Road, Flournoy Road and Harden Road are not paved because the county is still working on acquiring the right-of-ways.
Whitfield Road and Wimberley Road are not complete but are expected to be done soon.
In the 2006 SPLOST that just reached completion, 10 out of the 12 road projects are complete along with the library improvements.
The 2006 unincorporated Houston County SPLOST money however does have a few projects outstanding.
According to Stalnaker, Fire Tower Road, a 1.7-mile stretch of dirt road is not complete because of right of way acquisition. A 1.2 mile stretch of Kersey Road is scheduled to be paved, but has not yet been completed, and a portion of Toomer Road is waiting to be paved as well.
Stalnaker did note that the county was able to take the allocated $3 million and do 30 miles of water line fire hydrant expansion as opposed to the originally planned 14 miles. He said they were able to stretch the dollar by doing a lot of the work in house.
The 2001 and 2006 county project lists are short; Stalnaker and his team are ready to get started on the 2012 list. He said he couldn’t speak for the cities because they are in charge of their own SPLOST projects, but he makes it a priority to get the projects done because that is what he promised the people he would do with their money.
“Our voters have passed our SPLOST continuously, and we do our very best to hold up our end of the deal and get the projects done in a timely manner,” Stalnaker finished.