Though theyre the people who are supposed to oversee how Bibb Countys penny sales tax is spent, members of the SPLOST Advisory Committee expressed their displeasure Tuesday at being out of the loop on recent decisions.
Dan Slagle, the committees chairman, opened Tuesdays monthly meeting by pointing out that the Macon-Bibb County Consolidation Task Forces decision last week to spend $1.8 million in SPLOST money to purchase public safety software wasnt communicated to anyone on the advisory committee before it was decided.
I read about it in the paper, said Slagle, who added that he spoke with Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams, who told him the decision didnt violate any laws. Id like to remind everybody that it was the elected officials who called us to serve.
Slagle said he was particularly bothered by comments he received second-hand that indicated members of the public and some elected officials think the advisory committee has no power.
Ive become increasing frustrated with the role and processes of this committee, he said. If Ive heard it once, Ive heard it 1,000 times: This committee doesnt have any power. And Ive heard that some elected officials share this view. ... We represent every citizen, every voter, every taxpayer in this county, (and the comments) are a slap in the face to the citizens of this county.
Fellow committee members state Sen. David Lucas, Theron Ussery, Lindsay Doc Holliday and John Swint echoed Slagles sentiments.
I support this 1,000 percent, Ussery said. Every time I read the paper, theres talk about using SPLOST money for something.
Slagle said he thinks local government officials would be better served to work with the committee to let residents know exactly how SPLOST money is being spent and why.
Lots of collaboration, thats what we need, he said.
Slagle noted the presence of Macon-Bibb County Commissioners-elect Gary Bechtel, Larry Schlesinger, Al Tillman, Scotty Shepherd and Mallory Jones III at the meeting, saying he hopes the new commission will work with the advisory committee once the new government takes over Jan. 1.
The committee was given an update on various SPLOST projects, including:
Site work has begun on the new Animal Welfare building and Fire Station No. 110, which will be located on Heath Road.
Elevators are being installed and other improvements are being made at the Bibb County Courthouse, while work is being done at various parks and recreation centers across the county.
Most of the necessary work at Rose Hill Cemetery, including repairing retaining walls, the security gate and water mains, is near completion.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.