With the transportation SPLOST set to expire in April and regular sales tax revenues remaining lower than normal, Peachtree City will have to pare down its scheduled street and cart path improvements.
Due to the downturn in the economy, the city will be an estimated $2 million short in predicted revenue when the five-year 1 percent sales tax expires in April.
There is good news: the city has $3.58 million in the bank for projects that haven’t started yet, according to a staff presentation to the City Council Thursday night.
If revenues stay on track, the city can expect another $900,000 to add to that total before the SPLOST ends, giving the city up to $4.5 million to work with.
Mayor-elect Don Haddix has indicated the city will have to cut its street and path resurfacing to adjust to the loss of the SPLOST and the continued sales tax collection deficiencies. Sales taxes make up roughly one-third of the city’s budget and they have taken a significant hit in the economic downturn.
City Attorney Ted Meeker told council that it could choose to not do certain SPLOST project and instead steer the money to other SPLOST projects only.
Among the larger pending SPLOST projects for the remaining estimated $4.5 million in funds are:
• A “gateway” cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 West to link the Wynnmeade neighborhood with the Shoppes at the Village Piazza retail center. The project is in the design phase but staff is not moving “aggressively” toward construction at this point. The city has budgeted $450,000 for the project.
• The widening of the cart path bridge over Lake Peachtree along Ga. Highway 54. A plan is being developed to bring forward to council for approval.
• Intersection improvements for Walt Banks Road and Peachtree Parkway, including additional turn lanes and the potential in the future for a traffic signal to be added.
• Traffic studies at the intersections of Peachtree Parkway and Braelinn Road, Redwine and Robinson Road.
• Intersection improvements for Crosstown Drive.
Among other projects, the SPLOST has already paid for 30.77 miles of widening and resurfacing of the cart path system, 27.18 miles of street resurfacing, and new traffic lights at Wisdom Road/Ga. Highway 74 and also at Stevens Entry/Ga. Highway 54.
The street resurfacing alone cost $4.02 million in SPLOST funds, officials said.
For next year the city will have about $400,000 left to continue upgrades on the cart path system; so far the city has spent $2.25 million on cart path widening and resurfacing.
Several large SPLOST projects are now being considered inactive by city officials, including:
• A cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 74 North in the Kedron Village area. The city has budgeted 20 percent of the cost assuming it would go toward a matching grant.
• A cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 East to connect the Lexington Circle and Peachtree East shopping centers.
• Intersection improvements at TDK Boulevard and Dividend Drive, which became unnecessary when the City Council voted to abandon the TDK Boulevard Extension.
Meanwhile, thanks to the Georgia Department of Transportation, a number of other SPLOST projects have been carried out, and a few are still pending:
• DOT has begun the realignment of Rockaway Road with Holly Grove Road on Ga. Hwy. 74 South.
• DOT has completed turn lane improvements at Hwy. 74 South and Cooper Circle.
• DOT has completed a cart path tunnel underneath Hwy. 74 North at Paschall Road; the city is working on land acquisition from several property owners including the U.S. Postal Service to complete the path connection for the tunnel.
• A plan has been scrapped to build a tunnel underneath Hwy. 74 just north of Hwy. 54 to connect the Marketplace and Westpark shopping centers. The plan was contingent upon DOT raising the grade level of Hwy. 74 but that concept was abandoned, making the tunnel not feasible.