FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County plans to use some money from the transportation bond program voters approved last fall to pay for two 1-cent sales tax projects.
The projects are part of a bike/pedestrian plan that calls for adding sidewalks and bicycle lanes along Old Atlanta Road from Northern Oak Drive to Melody Mizer Lane and Melody Mizer from Old Atlanta Road to Daves Creek Park.
During their work session Tuesday, the county commission voted 5-0 to proceed with the plan.
Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer, explained that with the current special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, “there’s an approved list [of projects] and there’s projected collections.”
“We really won’t have significant cash flow available until probably later next year,” he said. “Where it qualifies, it is best to look to the transportation bond for funding.”
The first $100 million from the sales tax program went to build the new Forsyth County Courthouse and Jail, as well as two parking decks, in downtown Cumming.
Commissioner Brian Tam made the suggestion.
“Essentially, I was going to ask [Forsyth County Engineering Director John Cunard] to go out for design on these projects, and they’re both voter approved … SPLOST VII Category B projects,” he said.
According to officials, under SPLOST VII there are A and B category projects, with B projects typically being less pressing, having later start dates and, at times, being the last phase of a Category A project.
“If almost all of SPLOST VII is guaranteed under the bond on the A-list, then surely there’s got to be funding for the B-list,” Tam said. “Each one of us has some project on the B-list, whether it’s an intersection improvement, park improvement or sidewalk or whatnot.”
While the projects could be funded through the sales tax program, Cunard said they also could be funded through the bond.
“If it’s funded through the bond project under traffic safety improvements, then you would have additional money left in SPLOST to fund these projects,” he said “If not, then you’d still be able to fund these projects with transportation bond funds, if the board desires to move forward with them now.”