Project list gets fi­nal tally for rest of fis­cal year

♦ County seeks to use $7.8 mil­lion in Cap­i­tal Im­prove­ment spend­ing

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - Staff re­ports Edi­tor Kevin Myrick and Cor­re­spon­dent Sean Wil­liams con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Fu­ture plans are now set on paper for what projects and pur­chases Polk County’s ad­min­is­tra­tion seek to com­plete for the rest of the fis­cal year.

When the fi­nal tally is com­pleted, the county will seek to spend $7,816,375 com­bined in ev­ery­thing from in­fras­truc­ture im­prove­ments to up­grad­ing firearms for lo­cal law en­force­ment.

While the SPLOST con­tains the funds them­selves, the county’s Cap­i­tal Im­prove­ment Plan is more of a gen­eral guide­line for how the county seeks to spend from the pair of funds.

“The SPLOST is a fund­ing mech­a­nism,” County Man­ager Matt Den­ton said. “The CIP is a needs as­sess­ment for each de­part­ment.”

The FY19 CIP sees $802,000 and $6,414,375 gath­ered from the 2008 and 2014 SPLOST re­spec­tively. The re­main­ing $600,000 in spend­ing on the list from the land­fill fund has been com­pletely as­signed to the forth­com­ing air­port run­way ex­ten­sion project, though the run­way is slated to re­ceive an ad­di­tional $900,000 from the 2014 SPLOST fund to cover the rest of the cost.

The re­main­ing funds have been pledged to projects both old and new. While county em­ploy­ees will be de­lighted with the new com­put­ers and dig­i­tal equip­ment on the list for a num­ber of de­part­ments, some of the big­gest ben­e­fits to lo­cal res­i­dents will come in the form of much needed in­fras­truc­ture re­pairs.

That in­cludes $1 mil­lion be­ing planned for use to re­pair sev­eral cul­verts within the county, with ad­di­tional de­tails to come on spe­cific lo­ca­tions and costs.

FY 2019’s list also in­cludes $62,000 for a new se­nior cit­i­zen bus, $40,000 worth of new or re­paired fire hy­drants, and a com­bined $740,000 in­te­rior and ex­te­rior Court House #2 ren­o­va­tions, and much more.

Em­ploy­ees at work in on county busi­ness us­ing new com­put­ers as part of the CIP will be much safer thanks to the ap­proved $25,000 fire­wall up­grade, the $20,000 worth of op­tics and net­work switches, and the $8,000 be­ing spent on emer­gency backup and vir­tu­al­iza­tion.

While the county has al­ready been im­prov­ing their net­work in­fras­truc­ture, the CIP should see the fi­nal touches needed.

“If one of those (the core switches) fails, it’s like hav­ing a car­diac ar­rest,” County IT Di­rec­tor David Smith said of the switches at a pre­vi­ous tech­nol­ogy com­mit­tee meet­ing. “My pro­posal is to get rid of these blue ones, buy new switches, and con­nect every­one di­rect route to us. Num­ber two is our fire­wall.”

“The fire­wall is our heart,” Smith added. “That lets our in­ter­net in and out and keeps the bad guys out.”

An­i­mal lives will also see im­prove­ment thanks to the $125,000 be­ing pledged to a cat room ad­di­tion at the county’s an­i­mal con­trol build­ing.

The in­flux of stray and un­wanted fe­lines has re­sulted in the pound reach­ing max ca­pac­ity, and with strict laws dic­tat­ing how many an­i­mals can be kept in cer­tain square footage, an­i­mal con­trol has been forced to eu­th­a­nize and re­ject an­i­mals.

The cat room ad­di­tion will al­low for more strays to safely be taken in.

Law en­force­ment, EMS, and the fire de­part­ment should be in top shape thanks to the var­i­ous pa­trol ve­hi­cles, ser­vice weapons, and other equip­ment pledged.

The CIP also lists $50,000 to­wards a mo­bile com­mand post that would give first re­spon­ders the abil­ity to have in to high-risk sit­u­a­tions more ef­fec­tively with sur­veil­lance, wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion, wire­less net­work­ing, and more.

The ve­hi­cles can also give po­lice the abil­ity to an­a­lyze ev­i­dence im­me­di­ately, and stay­ing safe and dry is a solid perk for law en­force­ment.

Ad­di­tional pur­chases are planned for the Pub­lic Works de­part­ment as well, with new ve­hi­cles on the list as well as equip­ment to be used in re­pairs of county cars and trucks al­ready in use.

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