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Commission talks SPLOST VIII, county manager
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Replacing a top county employee and the next SPLOST were among topics recently taken up by Forsyth County Commissioners.

At a special called work session last week, Commissioners discussed the process of replacing retiring County Manager Doug Derrer and took an early look at SPLOST VIII projects.

County manager

Commissioners met with Stephen Egan, senior vice-president with The Mercer Group Inc., to discuss the process for finding Derrer’s replacement after his retirement in April. Egan said the right choice varies by county and commissioners should look at what makes Forsyth unique.

“The ideal is your ideal and not something to come out of our textbook,” Egan said.

In September 2016, Derrer announced he would be stepping down in April.

Commissioners shared issues manager would likely face, including growth, having a large population and traffic.

Chairman Todd Levent said the next candidate should be “proactive” in dealing with county problems.

“They’re going to have to be able to think a little bit outside the box and be willing to go look at other jurisdictions if they’re confused on something, who did what right and who did what wrong, and be willing to call and ask them questions and not just think they have all of the answers themselves,” Levent said.

Compensation and moving expenses for the next hire were also discussed.

Derrer came to the county in February 2008 as deputy county manager and was selected as interim county manager in September of that year. In March 2009, he was named county manager.

Interviews will likely begin soon and county staff and officials will identify what they believe is needed in the next county manager.

SPLOST

Though it cannot be collected until 2019, commissioners also discussed the SPLOST VIII, a special 1-cent sales tax to fund county projects. If approved, the collection will last July 2019-June 2025.

Derrer also had a “wish list” of improvements made by county departments to be considered. If all proposals were accepted, the county would owe $368 million for new capital items and about $53 million for renovations and repairs, for a total of over $421 million.

“This is certainly in its infancy,” Derrer said.

The highest expense was $211 million for new park facilities, including new parks, an aquatic facility green space and developments to existing parks.

Chief Financial Officer Dave Gruen also gave a few potential collection figures; $225 million in a slow economy, $254 million in an average economy with 3 percent growth and $273 million in a good economy with 4 percent annual growth.

The first $100 million collected will go to county road bonds, including one issued for the widening of Ga. 400.

No action was taken.

SPLOST VIII must be approved by voters, and it appears it will go on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot.