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Committee starts work on SPLOST projects
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Forsyth County News


A committee charged with overseeing the construction of a new courthouse and jail expansion took first steps last week toward getting the projects started.

The Forsyth County Commission voted last month to create the committee, charged with the task of advising on capital projects voters approved in a 1-cent sales tax extension in the fall.

The next round of the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, includes an estimated $100 million for the jail and courthouse facilities, to be built across from each other on East Maple Street in downtown Cumming.

Officials have said current estimates project the new round of sales tax will bring in about $203 million through July 2019.

Additionally, voters approved the bonding of up to about $89 million for the projects’ initial start before sales tax revenues are collected beginning in 2013.

During a meeting Thursday, the committee agreed to solicit proposals for a program manager for the projects.

Donna Kukarola, county procurement director, said it would be best to allow four to six weeks for the proposals to come in.

“We would have requirements in the request and interested parties would be able to submit within our guidelines,” she said. “Basically we’d be looking for the qualifications that they could run the program of the construction site and everything for these projects.”

The committee also selected a smaller group to review and rate proposals once the county has received them.

The group also discussed funding options during its meeting.

David Gruen, county finance director, said the county could issue a bond or take out a loan for a specified amount.

The construction schedule for the projects could begin in July, and Gruen said the funding option could be chosen based on when the county will begin paying for the project.

The committee directed Gruen to contact local banks to discuss loan options.

The group of officials includes county commissioners Pete Amos and Todd Levent, Sheriff Ted Paxton, Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley, County Manager Doug Derrer and Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt.