Essential maintenance: Tumlin plans to use SPLOST money to improve roads
by Hilary Butschek
July 06, 2014 04:00 AM | 1717 views | 1 1 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, right, and Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton discuss the possible upgrades they want to make along Powder Springs Street between the South Marietta Loop and Sandtown Road, if voters in the county pass a possible 2016 SPLOST in November.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, right, and Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton discuss the possible upgrades they want to make along Powder Springs Street between the South Marietta Loop and Sandtown Road, if voters in the county pass a possible 2016 SPLOST in November.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin hopes voters will approve a special purpose local option sales tax Nov. 4 because he said the city needs the money.

Most of the projects the city has on its $70 million wish list to be funded by the SPLOST are related to maintaining roadways.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will decide July 22 whether to put before voters a 1 percent SPLOST, expected to collect $750 million over six years.

SPLOST money currently makes up the majority of the funding the city gets to cover local projects, Tumlin said.

“Money for maintenance and the support for getting rid of potholes used to come from the state, but now the SPLOST basically took that over,” Tumlin said.

The mayor said state and federal dollars used to make up about 15 to 20 percent of the city’s budget, but not anymore.

“The world has changed now,” Tumlin said. “We are not able to look up as much as we once were for help — as far as the state and federal level.”

Tumlin said although maintenance projects aren’t flashy, they’re necessary and important to residents.

“They’ll yell at you more about fixing potholes than about making it pretty, so that’s an important part of it,” he said.

Although its list totals $70 million now, Tumlin said the city is working to shave its project list down to $57 million to come in line with what it is projected to collect from a 1 percent sales tax over a six-year span.

The mayor said the list is subject to change because he is working on making cuts to some projects. But he has three favorites he hopes make it on the final list.

Powder Springs Street streetscape

The first project on his list is completing the streetscape on Powder Springs Street, which the city has been working on since the last SPLOST in 2011, Tumlin said.

“What it’s going to do is, so to speak, substantially complete what we started,” he said.

The money would fund sidewalks and pedestrian crossings on the road, making the area uniform and safer to walk on. The $3 million streetscape would begin where Powder Springs Street intersects South Marietta Parkway and continue to Chestnut Hill Road. That section of roadway would get a 14-foot-wide median, as well as sidewalks and roadway improvements.

The roadwork would imitate the section of Powder Springs Street already improved from Chestnut Hill to Sandtown roads.

Councilman Grif Chalfant said he supports the project.

“I think it’ll be an economic boost for the whole area,” Chalfant said. “We’ve seen on Chestnut Hill the businesses are willing to put some more money into the area once they see we’re putting money in it.”

Roswell Street streetscape

Another project Tumlin said he wants to see finished is improvements to Roswell Street.

“You go down these streets, and we have the streetscape. And then it stops,” Tumlin said.

Improvements to Roswell Street have been funded by two SPLOST cycles already — one in 2005 and one in 2011.

The streetscape and road improvements provided for in the 2016 SPLOST includes improvements to sidewalks and two new lanes between Barnes and Dodd streets, which would cost $5.5 million.

“(This project) has been on the table so long that we’re ready to go,” Tumlin said.

Tumlin also wants to use SPLOST funds to focus on an area of the city he said hasn’t gotten much attention.

Allgood Road is in need of improvements because it has become a heavily trafficked area, said Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly.

“In the east side of town, we get a tremendous amount of traffic on Allgood Road,” Kelly said. “Right now, it’s a cut through when traffic backs up on I-75.”

The city would like to spend $750,000 to improve Allgood Road, but it doesn’t specify exact plans.

“Allgood Road is the new part of town, and I’m proud that we can address that area, too,” Tumlin said.

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Russ Wood
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July 06, 2014
So, the Mayor wants a third SPLOST to complete street improvements promised under two previous SPLOSTS. How much of the project will be completed this time and how many more SPLOSTs will it take to finish a darned sidewalk?

Tumlin is P.T Barnum and the voters of Marietta are his suckers.
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