RINCON — After a considerable amount of whittling by city staffers, a list of projects to be included in a TSPLOST referendum this fall or early next year has been approved by the Rincon City Council.
During a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, the council OK’d $7,506,250 for more than a dozen transportation projects that would be completed over a five-year span. All were deemed the most crucial from an original list that totaled nearly $21 million.
“Even that expanded list did not include all of our needs for the entire city,” City Manager John Klimm said, “but we took that $21 million list, and through the hard work of (Public Works Superintendent Tim Bowles) and (City Planner LaMeisha Hunter Kelly), they have revised that down to the $7.5 million worth of projects that roughly represents how much revenue we would receive if the TSPLOST referendum passed.”
Effingham County’s municipal governmental entities and the Effingham County Board of Commissioners are working to finalize a list of road projects that will be submitted to voters in a TSPLOST referendum. The referendum was originally planned for the November ballot but might be postponed until March 2021.
Ninety of Georgia’s 159 counties have a sales tax designated for transportation, including 24 that use the single-county TSPLOST.
To qualify for a single-county TSPLOST, a county must already be imposing a regular SPLOST. Effingham County meets that qualification.
County Administrator Tim Callanan has estimated that a one percent TSPLOST would generate $42 million over five years.
Klimm told the council that it needs to establish a consistent roads program. He called the TSPLOST list, “The first step in achieving that.”
“One point that I want to make is that we are getting to a critical juncture here in the city where many of the roads that are beginning to get aged are coming home to roost,” Klimm said. “So the referendum that might go forward would provide us with the necessary funding to begin a roads program in the city of Rincon other than the state program through the LMIG program. That’s basically the sum and substance of our roads maintenance program and so these were difficult choices ...”
Mayor Ken Lee thanked Bowles and Kelly for their work on Rincon’s list. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered efforts for Guyton, Springfield and Effingham County officials to have group TSPLOST discussions.
“I will say that I think we have a good list for our city and our needs, and I will just point out one in particular that I know has been an issue for us and our city, and our staff has it on our project list, and that is an alternative entrance and exit for picket fence, so thank you for having that on there,” the mayor said.
Lee spoke directly to the residents who were listening to the meeting via telephone because of social distancing efforts.
“I think you would agree, if you live in picket fences, that this is a very worthwhile project among the others that we have listed on there as well,” he said.
The picket fences alternative entrance portion of the list would cost $750,000.
The most expensive item on Rincon’s list is the resurfacing of 7th Street. It would include an eight-inch base and draining improvements at a cost of $1 million.
Weisenbaker Road would be resurfaced, with draining improvements, for $800,000.
Lee said he is hopeful that public meetings can be held about the TSPLOST soon.