SPLOST V — the local sales tax program approved by voters one year ago — is steadily making progress after collections started on April 1. Reported expenditures have passed $7 million dollars as of November 5.
In bigger news, all SPLOST V transportation projects are expected to have design contracts awarded before the end of the year. The one exception, the second phase of widening state route 81 in Ola, is awaiting a call for projects to apply for federal transportation dollars before proceeding forward.
A little more than $4 million dollars in expenditures have been reported under countywide projects. Almost all of the expenses are from the Fairview police precinct and rebuild of fire station 6. Commissioners awarded a design-build contract for the public safety project in September.
A small portion of expenses is from the county’s aquatic center. Henry County hired a consultant to manage the project in June and he is evaluating possible locations before making a recommendation on site location to the board.
The budget report does not include vehicle purchases approved by the board on November 4. The BOC approved $2.7 million dollars in new vehicles and heavy equipment purchases, from which a portion of the cost will be funded through SPLOST V.
Expenditures on district projects total $3.3 million to date. Over $2.6 million in expenses is attributed to one project — widening West Village Parkway in district V — that was ready to begin construction after pre-construction work completed in SPLOST IV. The project has a two-year build time.
Expenditures on other projects should increase in the coming months as Henry County begins to receive invoices from design contracts. Since October, the county has awarded design contracts for the following projects:
Major Transportation Projects
- Flippen Road extension (district II)
- Fairview Road widening (district V)
- Bill Gardner Parkway at Lester Mill Road (district I)
- Racetrack Road at Iris Lake Road (districts I / III)
- SR 155 at Greenwood Industrial (district II)
- Bridges Road at Willow Lane (district III)
Dirt Road Paving
- Burg Road (district I)
- Ellistown Road (district I)
- Sandy Ridge Road (district I)
- Dutchtown Road (district II)
The board tabled a design contract for improvements on East Lake Road, including intersection improvements at three intersections: East Lake at Airline, Elliott Road, and Rowan Drive; at its last meeting at the request of Commissioner Vivian Thomas. Thomas requested additional time to discuss the project with Commissioner Barham, whose district the project is proposed to split costs with district IV.
Design is out for bid on two major transportation projects in district III: the Airline Road extension and improvements to Snapping Shoals Road. The closing date for bids is December 1. A request for proposals (RFP) was recently posted for the fitness room addition at Heritage Senior Center, also in commission district III.
SPLOST V Collections above Projections
Sales tax collections are outperforming last year’s numbers in Henry County despite the ongoing pandemic. After a three-percent decline in April, collections rebounded above 2019 levels in May and have remained strong. From January to September, collections were 9.2% greater than one year ago, with quarter three (July–September) collecting 16.2% more than Q3 2019.*
The first twenty percent of sales tax collections in SPLOST V, or $40.8 million, must be set aside for the county’s level II projects before the municipalities begin to receive collections. The current rate of sales tax collections should allow this amount to be reached sooner than previously forecast. According to most recent McDonough financial update, Henry County has received $21.96 million in collections as of October (53.8% of target) and city staff estimates the county will reach the threshold in March 2021.
After the first twenty percent of collections has been met, the remaining collections will be divided based on population between the county (counting only that portion of the population that resides in unincorporated) and the four cities. The municipalities will be able to begin projects at that time.
*information prepared by the Atlanta Regional Commission was referenced for sales tax collections.
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