Wednesday morning’s discussions about Bibb County’s management of sales tax projects became as much about skepticism as criticism.
Commission Chairman Sam Hart urged speed in hiring a project manager, but the same three commissioners who were critical of Hart’s urgency voted later Wednesday to have county employees and commissioners work out the project planning in the coming weeks.
Hart said the commissioners were wasting time and would ultimately hire a manager for the special purpose local option sales tax projects.
“We’re going to simply kick the can down the road” -- he thumped a table for emphasis -- "and we’ll be right back here,” he said. But Hart and Bert Bivins were the only ones to oppose the motion to handle SPLOST project management internally. Commissioners Lonzy Edwards, Joe Allen and Elmo Richardson pushed it through. Richardson, an experienced engineer, said he would take on much of the work.
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The unusual two-hour meeting was marked by questions from the audience and a SPLOST advisory committee, which said it hadn’t gotten any information until Wednesday’s meeting began.
The group recommended by Hart is TI Real Estate Development. The proposal is for work to be split between the organization led by Scott Thompson -- whose contracting company Piedmont Construction Group wants to do some of the work -- and a company led by Cliffard Whitby, who sits on the county’s Industrial Authority.
About 30 other people in the audience listened to the discussion and raised additional criticisms.
Hart said the city and county could share some of the work. A piece of the TI Real Estate Development proposal provided to The Telegraph on Wednesday morning suggests the company is interested in managing about $108.4 million worth of projects in the city and county. Thompson said its the industry’s charges for such project management services ranges depending on what is required, from 0.5 percent to 10 percent.
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