What Difference Can a Penny Make?
Montgomery Official Details Transportation Benefits
(Editor’s Note: When voters participate in the May 24 General Primary, the ballot will include a very important question affecting the future of the transportation infrastructure in this region. Voters will be asked whether they support the renewal of T-SPLOST. In an effort to acquaint readers with what the 1% Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax has accomplished in this area in its last 10-year cycle and what it could mean for the next decade, The Advance is publishing a series of articles highlighting T-SPLOST’s impact on three counties in the newspaper’s coverage area: Wheeler, Toombs and Montgomery counties. In this issue, Montgomery County is profiled.)
Montgomery County Manager Brandon Braddy spoke on the effect of TSPLOST on the county since it first went into effect on January 1, 2013. According to Braddy, a total of $3,496,832 of funds raised with T-SPLOST have been used to better transportation throughout the county. Braddy says that when voters approved the T-SPLOST in 2012, the referendum also authorized special projects for Thompson Pond Road and Taylor Springs Road, which are located in the northern region of Montgomery County. “The T-SPLOST proceeds provided funding for shoulder widening, pothole patching and resurfacing for the entire road segment of Thompson Pond Road, which is 7.5 miles long,” he noted. “The T-SPLOST proceeds also provided funding for pothole patching and resurfacing for the entire road segment of Taylor Springs Road, which is 4.5 miles long.” These projects used $1,747,986, as Thompson Pond Road’s improvements totaled $1,416,377 while Taylor Springs Road’s work cost $331,608. Infrastructure, Road Department A portion of the TSPLOST funds was also devoted for infrastructure improvements, according to Braddy. “Montgomery County’s infrastructure consists of a local road system of 342 miles in the unincorporated areas,” he explained. “This local road system contains 132 miles of paved roads, 211 miles of dirt roads and 24 bridges. Montgomery County’s local road system requires a great deal of maintenance and repair, which demands resources. Over the past nine years, the county spent much of the $924,504 on pothole patching, resurfacing, road striping and installing proper road signage.” He continued, “To accomplish these projects, some of these proceeds were used in conjunction with other project funds received from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
In addition to improving the paved roads, the county used these funds for repairs and maintenance of the county’s dirt road system. The TSPLOST funds provided funding to purchase culverts and aggregate for many of the county’s dirt roads.”
To best service the 342 miles of roadway in Montgomery County, $161,574 of T-SPLOST funding was used to purchase and repair road department vehicles and equipment. The tax also relieved some of the pressure on the County’s general fund, as $662,769 was used to fund operations and maintenance of the county road department. “Of this amount, $500,507 was used to help supplement General Fund revenues for the operations and maintenance of the Road Department,” Braddy explained. “The remaining balance of $162,261 funded contract labor payments which included an inmate work detail from Montgomery State Prison.”
He added, “These are all things which the county has done with T-SPLOST in just the unincorporated areas – it does not include the cities.”
Braddy also spoke of several possible local projects in the unincorporated county areas and cities that may be funded with TSPLOST if the tax is renewed.
These projects include resurfacing Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Ailey; Sawmill Road in Higgston; East Broad Street, South Washington Street, West Underwood Street, West McKinnon Street, West Wooten Street, East Mount Vernon Street, West Mount Vernon Street, South Railroad Avenue, East Jefferson Street, North Walker Street, East Days Street, East Edwards Street, North Minnie Street, East Pearl Street, Lewis Street, East Folsum Street, East Connell Street, East Palmer Street, and West McRae Drive, all in Mount Vernon; and 4th Street in Tarrytown.
Also, the following streets could see grading, drainage, base, and paving work: Wilkes Circle in Alston, Jones Road in unincorporated Montgomery County, and East Oak Street in Uvalda.
These projects are projected to cost $3,996,540 and will be funded by TSPLOST if it passes.