By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Plan mulled in case voters OK tax
City of Rincon sign

RINCON — Like frugal breadwinners seated around a kitchen table, members of the Rincon City Council pondered their wants and needs during an Aug. 2 workshop. 

The council was trying to determine what to do with $10.9 million the City of Rincon stands to gain from the renewal of a sales tax if it is approved by Effingham County voters Nov. 2.

City Manager John Klimm aided the council by submitted a “laundry list” of recommendations. He said, “I originally went out to our departments and said, ‘Why don’t you detail for us your needs?’ ”

Klimm said his objective is to maximize the impact of Rincon’s share of the $80 million that the SPLOST has been predicted to produce over a six-year span.

“The plan that we have before you tonight is based on a belief that we need to catch up on the city’s infrastructure,” he said. “We not only need to address the growth that has already happened in Rincon, but the growth that we know is going to occur over the next five to 10 years.”

Municipal leaders in Rincon, Guyton and Springfield have been working on an intergovernmental agreement with Effingham County officials. The county is likely to designated 20 percent of the funds for “Tier Two Projects” that would benefit the county as a whole.

 “That would make the $80 million become $64 million, so that’s what we have as the base number of revenue,” Klimm said.

The city manager said Rincon’s share, based on population, would realize $10.8 million to be spent over six years.

Klimm recommended the council tackle six “major” initiatives.

“You can disagree, and the difference between you and I is that you get to vote and I don’t get to vote,” he said. “So we are making recommendations to you.”

The initiatives Klimm mentioned are:

— Water and sewer line extension (use $840,000 SPLOST for $12 million project)

— Wastewater treatment plant expansion (use $2.25 million SPLOST for $9 million project)

— Fire Department Station No. 1 rehabilitation (use $1.25 million SPLOST for $1.25 million project)

—  Fire ladder truck (use $600,000 toward $1.2 million purchase)

— Establish a recreation park (funded through the sale of Freedom Park - $3-4 million).

Klimm made it clear why he put Rincon’s water and sewer lines first on his list.

“It seems like every day that our Planning Department is getting a phone call about a new development proposal that is coming forward,” he said. “Can you provide water? Can you provide sewer? In some cases, the answer is no.

“... It is my recommendation that we consider, once and for all, that we extend water and sewer lines to connect into a loop a majority of our service area.”

The second-ranked major initiative is the wastewater treatment plant, which has reached 80 percent of its capacity.

“We are going to be at 100 percent capacity and having to start telling people who want to connect to our sewer plant that we can’t allow that to happen,” Klimm said. “I think that would have a negative impact on economic development and other development activities. I don’t think anyone wants us to be in that position.

“To ultimately fund both the water and sewer line extensions, and the wastewater treatment plant expansion, I believe that we need to drive down the ultimate costs of those projects by utilizing some SPLOST money. That’s what we are recommending.”

The Rincon Fire Department will soon need to enhance its downtown station.

“We’ve got four fire stations and we will be reducing it down to one, which is Station No. 1 right behind us,” Klimm said. “We need to have a modest rehab of that building, to expand it.”

The fire department will need only one station after Effingham County Fire & Rescue takes over fire protection is areas outside the city limits that it currently serves. Storage space for equipment currently in the three other stations will be needed.

In addition, Councilmember Michelle Taylor pointed out another concern.

“We are going to need to make it more gender friendly since we have a female firefighter,” she said.

Klimm concurred, adding that Station No. 1 also has handicapped-accessibility issues.

The city manager said the fire department needs some new vehicles, especially a ladder truck.

“I propose that we fund the rehab of the building and some of the ladder truck (with SPLOST), and the rest would be subsidized by the sale of assets,” Klimm said.

In the area of recreation, the City of Rincon is considering the sale of Freedom Park to fund construction of a “top-rated recreational) park.

“I don’t think we should use SPLOST to fund that but I totally support the project itself,” Klimm said.

Klimm also recommended using SPLOST to fund capital projects in the Department of Public Works ($2.634 million), police department ($2.1 million), Recreation Department ($900,000) and public buildings ($300,00).

SPLOST if frequently used to purchase vehicles, tasers, bulletproof vests and other equipment.

“I have a modest amount for $50,000 a year in terms of existing buildings if we need to replace something like a roof here or an air conditioner there,” Klimm said. “It’s a funding source to do maintenance from time to time in our various public buildings.”

Near the end of the workshop, Taylor and Councilmember Patrick Kirkland suggest city beautification and sidewalk construction, respectively, for SPLOST consideration.