The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 Citizens Oversight Committee held its first meeting on Wednesday.
Things got underway with words of encouragement and direction from Glynn County Commission chairman, Bill Brunson who thanked the group for their service and added it is an important component of the SPLOST 2016.
“We ought to be on target with injections from big boxes (stores),” Brunson added. “In this process we’re dealing with public funds. Transparency trumps everything, just remember that. We will sunset it once we collect the money.”
The meeting was held in second floor conference room of the Harold Pate Building.
Richard Strickland, former Glynn County Commission chairman, also thanked the group saying, “One reason we instituted this, (the oversight committee) was to restore the public’s trust. You all are an integral part of this. The county manager (Alan Ours) and county staff will be there to help you.”
Neither Brunson nor Strickland stayed for the duration of the meeting.
Committee members include the seven members appointed by the Glynn County Commissioners: Kamau Dickerson, who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, Vice Chairman Robert Franklin, Philip Graitcer, Jeff Kilgore, Ron Maulden, Chairman Ronnie Perry, Robert Terjesen and the two city appointed members — Al Verheyn, vice chairman of the Brunswick Urban Redevelopment Agency who was not in attendance, and Lance Sabbe who serves on the Brunswick Historic Foundation.
The committee’s purpose is to oversee SPLOST 2016 collections and how they are spent on projects.
Glynn County Manager, Alan Ours, moderated the meeting prior to election of the chairman. He said one of the challenges will be keeping the website current and up-to-date with information pertaining to the projects.
Public Service Announcements are planned to promote awareness about the website. Social media will also be utilized.
City Manager Jim Drumm said groups associated with the city’s project list are already asking when the projects will begin. SPLOST collection started the first of April. Ours said checks will start coming in from the state in either May or June, and once-a-month thereafter.
Graitcer voiced concerns about project management to get projects done on time.
“Our goal is to have the design firm that’s chosen, to also do project management as part of their contract,” Ours said. “We’re going to try to maximize our staff by partnering but we do believe we can get the projects done.”
Ours said in the past, the county spent $4 million on a project management firm.
“I’d like to see that money spent on asphalt,” Ours said. “We believe our staff can get it done.”
Committee member Kilgore suggested the committee give the county staff a chance, because he didn’t think a consultant was something they could afford.
Drumm said he also believes the city has the capacity to manage the projects and get them done in timely manner.
Money collected through the tax will be split between the county, city of Brunswick, Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission and the Jekyll Island Authority for projects on a list voters approved during the general election in November.
Of the more than $71.5 million that the projects list calls for, the majority, $40,462,846, or about 57 percent, is going to the county. Brunswick will get $13,832,154, or about 19 percent, the JWSC was allotted $15 million, 21 percent, and the JIA will get $2.3 million, just three percent.
Collection of the one percent sales tax, which pushed sales tax in Glynn County to seven percent on the dollar, will last through Sept. 30, 2020.
More information on the tax can be found at glynncounty.org/SPLOST2016.
The Citizens Oversight Committee meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. July 19.