Chulio Road improvements appear to be the top SPLOST priority

Thursday, June 6, 2024–7:20 p.m.

-Adam Carey, Rome News-Tribune-

The Rome and Floyd County Joint Services Committee indicated that long-awaited improvements to Chulio Road will be the first project addressed following the approval of the 2023 special purpose local option sales tax referendum.

The improvements to Chulio Road, which are due to receive $6 million from the city and county, have been discussed since the 1990s, Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said.

The first payment for the 2023 SPLOST proceeds was received in May for $1.78 million. It was split according to the intergovernmental agreement, with 53% going to Floyd County, 45.2% going to Rome and 1.8% for Cave Spring.

“Everybody wants their project to be first,” McCord said. “But we only get a small portion of the SPLOST revenue every month, so we have to be careful.”

Most of Chulio Road is in Floyd County, with a relatively small portion within Rome city limits. However, the portion within the city costs more to improve, primarily because of land acquisition costs, according to Rome City Manager Sammy Rich.

That project still may take some time; because of the current market, neither the county nor the city appears to be interested in jump starting any SPLOST projects by issuing bonds.

“Issuing $50 million in bonds will cost you $10 million in fees, which is a little rich for us,” McCord said. “So we’re gonna have to pay as we go, which will help keep costs down.”

Rome Mayor Craig McDaniel indicated in a joint meeting with the county this week that the City Commission agreed that Chulio Road should be prioritized.

Both the city and county are also working to prioritize their individual SPLOST projects.

However, according to Rich, public safety projects such as additional fire and emergency trucks and breathing gear have already been ordered.

“Once SPLOST was approved, we began working on acquiring the equipment our emergency workers need,” Rich said. “Public safety is always a priority.”

Because the Rome Police Department has already vacated the Law Enforcement Center downtown and is now based on Technology Parkway, in a larger facility, that has given the city a little breathing room, Rich said.

The committee also discussed a portion of the SPLOST earmarked to run water and sewer to the 202-acre joint industrial park at Enterprise Corner on U.S. 411. There have been talks about the potential interest of companies supplying the massive SK, Hyundai battery plant in Bartow County.

The city has plans to bring water and sewer to the property as part of $4.5 million set aside in the 2024 SPLOST.

However, until a proper suitor is found for the land, and their specific needs identified, infrastructure work has paused.

“Until we know the specific needs of whomever is going to take that property we’re in a bit of a waiting game,” Rich said. “We don’t want to lay water mains or sewer lines only to find out they need twice as much capacity. Same with Georgia Power — they’re waiting.”