Members of the committee that oversees the special 1-cent sales tax in Bibb County said Tuesday they were pleased with the efforts of the city and county to use local and minority-owned businesses for SPLOST projects.
Dan Slagle, the SPLOST Advisory Committee chairman, said he was very satisfied with the progress that has been made on special purpose local option sales tax projects and the efforts to recruit local businesses -- especially those owned by minorities and women -- to carry out those projects.
Weve made excellent progress on all of the SPLOST projects, Slagle said. Generally speaking, theyre on time. Im very happy. We got good reports about local and minority participation. The SPLOST money is being put back into the community.
While the county showed a much higher percentage of contracts awarded to minorities compared to the city, Slagle said the numbers arent apples to apples, since different methodology was used.
Len Hindsman, who oversees the SPLOST for Bibb County, reported that 67 percent of the county SPLOST projects were awarded to local firms, while 62 percent of the contracts went to minority- or women-owned businesses.
Hindsman, however, included in the totals the number of minorities employed by all firms who are working on the various SPLOST projects. For example, at the construction site for the new Juvenile Justice Center, of the 46 workers at the site, 29 were of black, Hispanic or Native American descent.
By contrast, Chris Floore, the citys director of external affairs, said 65.8 percent of Macons SPLOST funds were spent with local firms, while 7.8 percent were awarded to minority- or female-owned companies. The citys numbers, however, dont reflect the number of actual minorities working on a project.
Slagle asked Floore to get those numbers for the committees next meeting in October.
Hindsman told the committee that often when Bibb County awarded contracts to companies that werent local, they were specialty companies in that field. For example, Schnabel Engineering is a company that exclusively works on dams and brings a level of expertise not found in the county.
Also during the meeting, Hindsman gave an update on several projects, noting that Fire Station 109 is now operational and that roofing for the Juvenile Justice Center will begin Tuesday.
He noted the justice center lost an estimated 21 construction days due to the excessive rain this summer, and the company will ask for an extension to make up for the lost time.
Hindsman also reported that construction plans for the new $3 million Animal Welfare shelter should be done by the end of September, with construction set to begin in mid-November. Currently, the target date to finish the shelter is Sept. 15, 2014.
Floore told committee members that the 800 megahertz radio system has been installed in Macon police and Macon-Bibb County Fire Department vehicles, and the Bibb County Sheriffs Office vehicles are currently getting the new radios.
After the meeting, Slagle said hes been approached by several local business leaders about potential changes in the $11.4 million technology upgrades listed in the SPLOST. Slagle said hes waiting for a report from the city, which has been delayed because Macon Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker is out of the office following hip surgery.
Several committee members expressed their concerns that the master plan for recreation in Macon and Bibb County has yet to be presented, even though it was due in mid-July. Committee members were told the master plan would be presented to county commissioners Sept. 3.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.