- SPLOST AND LOST: SPLOST and LOST revenue shown in the report dated January 31, 2023 reflect collections reported for December 22022. For that period, SPLOST collections were $1,337,079.17 which is a $34,255.78 (3.5%) increase over the same period last year. LOST collections were $811,385.84 which is a $14,188.64 (2.29%) decrease over the same period last year. The LOST decrease is due to an adjustment that increased distribution to the Cities as a result of population growth within the cities.
Gordon County and its Cities expect to have a referendum on the ballot in November 2023 to continue the Special Local Option Sales Tax when the current SPLOST expires in April 2024.
Gordon County has provided a calendar to all municipalities to participate in planning. Chairman Owens and County Administration met with Calhoun Mayor Palmer and city staff last week to discuss areas of common interest to be addressed with SPLOST revenue such as possible traffic flow improvements intended to benefit everyone.
- OPIOID SETTLEMENTS: Last month I reported that Gordon County has received $119,288.11 to date from the nationwide class actions against drug manufacturers and distributors. Settlements continue to come in from manufacturers and distributors. These funds are held separately from the general fund and must be used to remediate issues related to the opioid crisis. We are studying permissive uses and local needs for these funds.
- BUDGET: A budget calendar was presented to the BOC at the work session last Friday. Budget planning is underway for F/Y 2023-2024.
- ARPA: The Finance Director filed the quarterly report that was due at the end of January so that we remain in compliance with federal requirements. The money remains earmarked for providing Broadband to unserved areas, digitizing vital records, and has been used previously to provide premium pay to essential government workers.
SIGNIFICANT PROJECTS AND ACTIVITY
- CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS:
- 1960s Courthouse: We had a project meeting with the Architect and Contractor on January 26th. Floor installation has begun on the first floor and all flooring should end in June. As reported in January: “Drywall is completed on all floors. Trim work has begun on the first and second floor. First coat of paint has been applied on the first and second floors. Ceiling grids and lights are installed on the first and second floors.” Looking forward, elevators should be complete on June 30, 2023, courtroom benches installed by June 28, final paint by end of March, low voltage and audio video by end of July, back porch complete in May.
- Senior Center: This project is substantially complete.
- Administration Building: Momon will present an estimate for roof and cornice/gutter repairs in Q1.
- Public Works: This building has damage due to water seepage over time possibly due to poor construction methods when it was built 21 years ago. The county has consulted with air quality specialists, Croft and Associates architects and engineers, and Momon Construction for a plan to remediate and repair the building. Our staff has been moved to a temporary onsite trailer while repairs are underway. This damage is not covered by insurance.
- Juvenile Court Building: The facility experienced extensive flood damage due to a broken water pipe during the December freeze. Remediation of the water damage should be complete next week and reconstruction of the affected area should begin next week. This damage is covered by insurance.
- REDBONE RIDGES LANDFILL: We continue to file reports as due. The most recent was the industrial storm water report and completion of Cell 3A.
- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Thor officials briefly showed the completed facility to Keith and me. You cannot appreciate the vast size of this 1.2 million square foot facility until you are inside of it. As of the tour, the building did not have a tenant.
The Gordon County Development Authority met on January 24th. My takeaway is that several warehouse projects that are permitted remain underway but, industrial development interest may be cooling off as inflation and interest rate hikes affect the economy.
- GDOT STIP REPORT: The Georgia Department of Transportation briefed county officials on local projects which are part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). Projects include: upgrades for pedestrians at State ROW’s in 2025; Bridge on HWY 156 at Salacoa Creek in 2025; Bridge on Hwy 411 in Oakman in 2027.Roundabout at intersection of Newtown Church/Craigtown Rds. with Hwy 225; Widening Hwy 156 heading east from Calhoun in 2030; modifying HWY 53 in Scottsville to install a hard median; intersection improvements at Hwy 41 and Redbud Road to begin in 2024; and, Hwy 53 resurfacing is to begin soon. We are inviting GDOT to a future BOC work session for further updates and explanation.
- COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: We continue work on the Comprehensive plan update. A second Public Hearing is anticipated for the end of March and public notices will be posted 30 days in advance.
- BROADBAND: County Staff, Chairman Owens and Vice Chairman Cunningham hosted Comcast representatives on February 3rd for an update on the County initiative to bring broadband to all unserved areas of Gordon County. Since receiving the grant award in early January, Comcast and the State have been working through the necessary contracts for grant administration and execution. The contracts are supposed to be signed this week. Because Federal money is involved, a formal RFP (bid) process must be followed for all contractors working on the project. This process will take at least 60 days. So that means construction will not begin until the RFP results are in and contracts are signed. Comcast was selected by Gordon County to establish high speed broadband service to all feasible locations. The selection of Comcast was made after an advertised public proposal process. Comcast was the only internet service provider to submit a proposal after ATT and another declined the opportunity. There has been some discussion on social media expressing concern that the government does not need to be in the ISP business. Gordon County will not be an internet service provider. Our role is to use the Public Facilities Authority as a pipeline for the permissible use of ARPA funds to bring broadband to areas that do not have it. Without government incentives, these areas would continue to be unserved because there would not be enough return on investment to the ISP due to distance and low population density.
- Firefighters Banquet
- Gordon County Sheriff’s lunch
- Assistance to Tax Commissioner on excess funds claims
- Health Insurance meeting with Agent of Record
- Community Task Force Meeting
- E911 meeting with Director