The Columbia County Commission selected numerous projects last week for millions of dollars in nondedicated sales tax funding.
Among the projects selected during the Tuesday meeting was a new Family Y facility in Grovetown.
Nearly $6.7 million from the 2006-10 1-percent sales tax collections was dedicated for improvements to the Gateway area at Interstate 20 and Lewiston Road. The improvements listed in county documents include the construction of a 47,200-square- foot exhibition hall to be shared by the Family Y. About 20,000 square feet will be for The Y.
County Administrator Steve Szablewski said approving a lease agreement with Family Y executives will be the next step.
County attorney Doug Batchelor recently prepared a 10-year lease at $320,000 per year for The Family Y to use the facility.
Family Y President Danny McConnell would not discuss the lease last week. He said it first must be presented to his board of directors for approval.
McConnell also would not discuss any details of a potential fitness center in Grovetown until an agreement is approved.
McConnell said a new facility in Grovetown wouldn't affect operation of the Marshall Family Y in Evans.
County officials expect to earn more than $15.7 million in sales taxes for third tier projects, such as the Gateway, from the 2006-10 collection cycle.
During the summer, commissioners designated nearly $7.5 million of those collections for phase one, tier three projects, including construction of a building for broadband services, construction of the Evans Town Center Park and purchasing land to build towers for a 911 system. That left about $8.2 million for phase two projects.
Other phase two projects include building a recycling center at Riverside Park for $300,000; purchasing equipment for the broadband building for $400,000; improvements to the county's traffic control system for $500,000; and purchasing firefighting equipment for $350,000.
Szablewski said that a provision included in the sales tax referendum approved by voters in 2005 allows commissioners to allocate added funds for new projects in specific categories, such as transportation and recreation, when money already has been designated for projects listed on the referendum.
Also, the commission appropriated $200,000 in stormwater funds to dredge an area of Bowen Pond at Kelly Branch.
This expenditure is in addition to about $1 million the county has already spent from a 2006 bond referendum approved by voters to remove 30,000 cubic yards of silt from the pond near West Lake, said Water Utility Director Bill Clayton.
That 2006 bond referendum passed despite complaints that the public does not have access to the pond.
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