This decision came just hours after the Spalding County Board of Commissioners voted to let stand an earlier agreement presented to the city.
The agreement city officials finally voted on was hammered out Thursday night by County Manager William Wilson Jr., City Attorney Drew Whalen and others.
“We did this last night after the special called meeting and while the county commissioners were still in their zoning public hearing that lasted until 11:15,” Wilson said, reiterating that county commissioners had not yet voted on the agreement, but that he put it in their boxes and asked them to take it home and look at it. “I believe this could be a compromise the city and county can agree on.”
The proposed agreement includes: $50,674,000 for the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority; $22.5 million for Griffin Technical College; $10,299,198 for the city of Griffin; $10,299,198 for Spalding County; $475,605 for the city of Orchard Hill; and $100,000 for the city of Sunny Side.
The proposal also calls for any excess money generated by the SPLOST to be split equally between the city and the county.
City projects that would be included on a September SPLOST referendum include: $4,583,470 for intersection improvements, signal timing and upgrades; $550,000 for bridge improvements and repairs at Sixth Street, Meriwether Street and Poplar Street bridges; $1.8 million for 24 miles of street surfaces to be split between the city’s six districts; $3 million for a new fire station in the North Expressway area to replace the one in front of Griffin Tech; and $365,728 for right-of-way and sidewalk improvements to be split between the city’s six districts.
It was City Commissioner Joanne Todd’s request that sidewalk improvements be broken down between districts.
“I think that there are districts who have begged for sidewalks and still are waiting for them,” Todd said. “I just think it’s time we put attention into the neighborhoods as well as everything else.”
There was other discussion of the need to vote on the referendum in September because a buyer other than the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority is looking at the Big Shanty property.
Whalen also stated that under a 2004 law the city would be able to receive its portion of SPLOST monies directly and “earn interest on the money as it comes in.”
In addition, city commissioners voted 6-0 to give Mayor Doug Hollberg the authority to sign off on an intergovernmental agreement, if the county agrees on it, without having the board convene again.
The agreement must be signed by Monday in order for the county to call the special election.
City Commissioner Dick Morrow said the city commission has always supported the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and Griffin Tech projects and has only been asking that the county respect the law.
“Those two principles have been with us all along,” Morrow said, expressing his frustration about the bantering that has floated between city and county officials for weeks. “Now the county wants this. I hope they are done with this. I hope they’re done with their innuendos, name calling and threats over there. I hope that’s done so we can get on to some serious business.”
Morrow then initiated the motion to approve the agreement.
In reference to a special called meeting city officials held in Savannah last Saturday, Hollberg said the sole purpose of the meeting was to get legal advice and that full minutes of the meeting will be presented at the next Griffin Board of Commissioners meeting.