September 29, 2005
"We're gonna be spending out these dollars we got," says City Administrator Fred Russell.
Russell says taxpayers can rest assured that all the money from the first four phases of SPLOST is being spent.
"We've got roads in progress, we've got projects in progress," he says.
Richmond County homeowner John Cannon keeps a close eye on a traffic project on Warren Rd. "Its been out here for two years and hadn't been done, the road hasn't been fixed," Cannon said.
SPLOST money has already been spent to build six new firestations, and several library's, but there's still nearly 153 million dollars sitting in the bank. So where is that money going?
Fred Russell just released a budget showing that over 2 million dollars will go for parks and recreation. About 5 million will be for fire departments and public safety. And 5 million in utilities and 26 million in other special projects.
But the bulk of the unspent SPLOST money is going to be spent on road and construction projects like the one on Wheeler Road. They say they're about seventy percent done with the project, but the remaining thirty percent is going to require one million dollars - all money coming from SPLOST
But with another 160 million dollar phase of SPLOST proposal coming up for a vote in November, John Cannon says he'll vote no because the money hasn't been spent quickly enough. The city counters repairs like these on Warren Road don't happen overnight.
"Building a road, you might have to buy land from 15 or 20 people and its very complex, you've got to design it, build it, and bring all those things together and these things don't go as quickly as you might want to think they do," said Fred Russell
Now, the city is hoping that Phase 5 will be approved.
Russell says, "It's pennies for progress, pennies for our future, and that's what people need to recognize."