Bibb County commissioners balked Tuesday at hiring a project manager for the county’s sales-tax-funded building projects.
The vote was delayed until the commission decides how work and responsibilities would be split among commissioners, county employees and the new company.
In a morning Committee of the Whole meeting, commissioners voted 3-2 to table commission Chairman Sam Hart’s recommendation for T.I. Real Estate to serve as a project manager for special purpose local option sales tax money. Hart said the company is affiliated with Piedmont Construction Group.
Hart voted against tabling the decision, along with Bert Bivins. Voting to delay the action were Lonzy Edwards, Joe Allen and Elmo Richardson.
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Hart told The Telegraph that his presentation to commissioners should have been better, and he wants to talk with commissioners about the specific issues in a special called meeting that hasn’t yet been scheduled.
“There’s a legitimate concern,” Hart said. “All those things have been discussed” internally but not presented to commissioners.
Edwards said he didn’t see any clarity in Tuesday’s proposal about what the role of the commission, staff and project manager would be.
“I’m not going to sit back and let anybody take responsibility” for his role as a commissioner, Edwards said.
Hart said he would like a project manager to include local subcontractors who represent the diversity of the community by being small businesses or minority-owned businesses.
The commission voted earlier to have Hart seek the proposals, which included firms interested in building specific projects. Thirty-two applications were received.
But commissioners haven’t yet decided which projects would fall under the project management company. Richardson said some SPLOST items, such as paying off debt or buying land near Robins Air Force Base to deal with the encroachment issue, probably didn’t need to be under the project manager.
Two county SPLOST projects, Fire Station 109 on New Forsyth Road and a Juvenile Court building, are nearly ready for construction. The county is scheduled to open bids for the fire station this week. Hart urged commissioners Tuesday not to let pieces of the SPLOST project list launch before consistent oversight is in place.
“We said we’d do oversight instead of a project here and a project there,” Hart said.
The SPLOST project list includes $39.55 cq million for recreation projects. Before November’s SPLOST referendum, county commissioners set aside money for each recreation area but haven’t figured out exactly what that amount of money can buy. it can buy for that amount of money The county is scheduled to take over the city’s recreation department in July.
In all, the SPLOST is expected to put $126.35 million toward the county’s project list, as well as $63.65 million toward Macon projects.
Hart has said the right project manager could help county officials decide what can be built with the money available and how to schedule the projects.
Macon City Council members also are trying to determine a schedule for the city’s SPLOST projects. However, the city’s project list contains far fewer traditional construction projects.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.