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Grady County commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement with Cairo and Whigham concerning the proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, but not before hearing from a concerned citizen who pushed for a specific road project to be included in the ballot language.
Gerald Goosby, 961 Metcalf-Beachton Road, appeared before the county commission Tuesday to question if the Metcalf-Beachton Road could be included in the TSPLOST project list for the county.
Goosby previously worked as a transportation planner for the South Georgia Regional Commission and was involved in a regional TSPLOST that failed at the ballot box approximately a decade ago.
The south Grady County resident said he realized the cost of paving a road like his could be upwards of $1 million per mile, but he said during heavy rain events the road is almost impassable.
According to Goosby, the 1.75 mile stretch of the road in Grady County needs to be paved.
“It is a well traveled road and many log trucks use it going to Metcalf,” Goosby said.
This was not his first visit with the board about the Metcalf-Beachton Road. Goosby said he had appeared before the board about a year-and-a-half ago asking the county to do something to the road. “I understood then that the money was not there to do anything, but with the TSPLOST I’m hoping you will be able to do something,” he said.
Grady County Commission Chairman Keith Moye said that the top priority road in each of the county’s five districts were specifically named in the list of projects, but he pointed out that, if funds are available, the county could possibly address other roads such as Metcalf-Beachton Road.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland said that she sympathized with Goosby, but she also noted that Borden Road had been a problem road since she was first elected to the board and that the commissioners had promised the residents living along that road some relief when funding was available.
“We’ve just got a lot of roads that need some work,” Commissioner Copeland said.
Projects specifically targeted by the proposed TSPLOST include Open Pond Road, Mizpah Road, Pine Park Road, Hadley Ferry Road, Lower Hawthorne Trail, Old Thomasville Road, and Long Branch Church Road.
The new tax, which will increase the total amount of sales tax on local sales to eight percent, is anticipated to generate $15,000,000 over the five year life of the tax.
The county’s portion of that would be 59.7 percent or approximately $8,955,000.
Goosby told commissioners that hopefully they could leverage the TSPLOST with other possible funding, including state funding, to expand the project to include such projects as the Metcalf-Beachton Road.
Should the TSPLOST be approved by the voters, the City of Cairo is expected to receive approximately $5,760,000 and the City of Whigham should receive $285,000.
The referendum on the one percent sales tax, which can only be spent on transportation related projects, will be held Tuesday, May 19. The tax, if approved, would go into effect Sept. 1, 2020 and would expire Aug. 31, 2025.