The Oconee County Citizen Advisory Committee on Recreation Affairs last night added $5.5 million to the list of requests to go to the Board of Commissioners for inclusion on the ballot next spring as part of the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
The Committee said it really needs $10 million in parks, recreation and historic site funds, but it prioritized its list to include money to complete three projects at Veterans Park on Hog Mountain Road and make a variety of overall improvements to parks throughout the system.
The $5.5 million would be on top of continued funds to pay down the debt on a $11.8 million general obligation bond approved by voters in 2002. In the current SPLOST, the county set aside $4.8 million for bond repayment and $1.1 million for parks, recreation and historic projects.
The park bond is not scheduled to be retired until 2033.
IDA Requesting $4.6 Million
County departments and committees are reading their SPLOST requests for submission to County Administrative Office Jeff Benko by the first of next month.
The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority voted on Nov. 11 to ask for $4.6 million for its projects.
The public won’t get to offer its input until January and February.
In March the BOC will whittle down the requests before putting the renewal of the 1 percent sales tax before voters in May.
The members of the Recreational Affairs committee went back and forth in the two-hour meeting last night at the Community Center in Veterans Park before settling on its priorities for the SPLOST request.
In the end, the Committee decided that the priority was $2 million for the multipurpose fields at Veterans Park, followed by $0.5 million in overall park improvements.
The next priority is $2 million for improved traffic flow in Veterans Park, including paving of the roadway through the park to give it a second entrance off Hodges Mill Road.
Park and Recreation Director John Gentry suggested the group add $1 million for additional tennis courts at Veterans Park. The video below explains the priority.
The Committee accepted Gentry’s suggestion.
Gentry said the system really needs a total of about $10 million, and the additional money would be used for a new gymnasium somewhere in the system, more multipurpose fields, and the purchase of additional park land.