This week Forsyth County Commissioners met with Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow and city council members Christopher Light and Jason Evans to discuss upcoming SPLOST VIII — special purpose local option sales tax —and the various projects that have been proposed by the city and county.
At the meeting Tuesday, the city council did not have enough members present to reach a quorum, but as noted by County Attorney Ken Jarrard that fact "did not in any way denigrate from the usefulness or the necessity" of the meeting.
After the meeting Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow said that he felt the meeting went positively and felt “optimistic that it will come together in what's best for the community."
Previously the county projected for totals of a five-year, $223,585,000, and six-year, $273,865,000, SPLOST collection and promised $100 million to go toward debt for the $200 million transportation bond approved by voters in 2014.
The county and city have yet to reach an agreement on how that SPLOST money will be split.
Forsyth County Manager Eric Johnson reiterated Tuesday that the two governments can agree on any amount of distribution for the SPLOST funds, but the default formula is based on the percentage of city residents in the county population according to the current census.
Based on county projections that would mean that the city would receive 3.1 percent of the total SPLOST funds to be collected – $6,917,324 for the five-year plan and $8,472,898 for the six-year plan.
Brumbalow stated that regardless of the percentage of SPLOST funds they receive, many of the future projects they have proposed and current city amenities benefit the entire community. He said that they decided on 11 different county projects that would optimize "the good of the community as a whole, not just the City of Cumming."
"Our parks and rec facilities and the aquatics center are used primarily by county residents. We couldn’t fill a 10-year-old baseball team with city residents," he said.
The proposed city projects include the creation of a new "northern bypass" that would connect Hwy. 9 to Pilgrim Mill Road; improvements and maintenance to existing roads; expansion of the city aquatics center and the arena at the Cumming Fairgrounds; and the creation of a more accessible veterans memorial in the city, according to Brumbalow.
"I think a lot of these projects are greatly beneficial to the county as a whole,” Brumbalow said. “We aren't looking for things that are pet projects for us. We are looking at what can make it better for the entire community, Cumming and Forsyth County."
At the end of the meeting, Jarrard noted a deadline for the final vote on SPLOST has not yet been determined but will likely take place in early July.
A motion to carry the issue over until the next work session for further discussion was unanimously approved by the commissioners.