City projects need more $ - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City projects need more $

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Sales tax revenues have been down sharply for the past several years. That includes one percent sales tax used to fund special projects.

Now the city of Albany says it is $2 million short of what was projected to come in for projects. That means some just won't be complete, at least not right now.

Initially, the city expected to collect $65 Million in SPLOST V. That's the one penny sales tax taken up through March of next year, but now projects are that there will be a two million dollar shortfall, leaving some projects incomplete.

It was expected to be one of the final touches of the Riverfront walk... a pedestrian bridge over Philema Road to Chehaw Park.

Now, that may not happen. "At this point, it's been put on the back burner. It's been put on hold, pending when the funding is going to be available," said Engineering Director Bruce Maples.

And right now, funding a $1.8 Million project doesn't seem to be possible when there is a $2 Million shortfall.

"Since August 2008, the recession has come into play and revenues have been way down," said Maples.

A major storm drainage project, projected to cost more than $8 million is also not immediately being pursued.

"We're looking at additional funds from the federal government to see if we can actually implement that program, so right now, we're not pursuing that as far as putting it out for bids for construction, but it may be something if we get additional funding we'll be pursuing it," said Maples.

That's because In order to have a major impact on the storm drainage, much more money will be needed, and since it's not coming with the SPLOST collections, starting would not make sense right now.

Right now, the city commission is working on a list of projects for the next SPLOST process, projected to bring in close to $98 Million starting next year, if the penny sales tax is continued by voters.

The city of Albany may get a larger share of the sales tax than in years past. Today, the commission approved a split with the county that would up the city's portion from 62% to 64%.

The county must still vote to agree to that split.

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