“What’s going on right now is they met on Nov. 11,” he said.
The “they” in question is the 20 elected officials, one county commission chairman and one mayor from each of the 10 counties in the region, who make up the regional roundtable that will vote on the projects to be paid for by the tax. Spalding County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eddie Goss and Griffin Mayor Cynthia Reid Ward represent Spalding County on the roundtable.
During the meeting, the roundtable elected Upson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Maurice Raines as roundtable chairman and Woodbury Mayor Ron Garrett as vice chairman.
The next step is to appoint five members to the executive committee. Heard County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman June Jackson, representing Carroll and Heard counties, and Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold, representing Upson and Pike counties, have already been appointed. The remaining three members, including the representative of Spalding and Butts counties, have not been appointed.
The next meeting will be on Dec. 6 at 9 a.m. at the Turin Town Hall. It will be open to the public. There, the roundtable will vote on project selection criteria. Based on these criteria, the roundtable, the executive committee and the technical advisory committee will begin assembling a list of projects in January. In October 2011, the roundtable will vote to approve the final list of projects.
“If they approve the project list, it will be put on the ballot in July of 2012 for the voters across the region,” Hiett said.
Whether the tax is approved or not will be decided by the outcome of a region-wide popular vote. If the region’s voters do not accept the tax, the local match for transportation projects will rise and will remain higher until the opportunity for a second vote in 2014.
Hiett said there is a misconception that monies raised by the tax will be used only for Georgia Department of Transportation projects.
“Funds raised by this transportation tax can be used on local, state or federal projects within the region,” he said.