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Half million dollar grant for Morgan County roads

Tia Lynn Ivey News

Morgan County will receive more than $500,000 from a state grant to resurface 10 miles of road in the county.

Through the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) for the Fiscal Year 2018, Morgan County is set to receive $518,566 to be used toward road improvement projects.

“We have chosen to resurface Newborn Road, from the I-20 overpass to the Newton County line, and Apalachee Road, from Highway 441 to Highway 83,” said Adam Mestres, county manager. “It’s a total of 10.75 miles that will be done.”

According to Mestres, the total estimated cost of the project is $987,360.

“Under LMIG, the county has a required 30 percent match for the funds,” explained Mestres. “I am confident that the rest of the money for the project will come from SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).

Mestres is hoping that Morgan County will become a Transportation Investment Act (TIA) county in the future by adopting TSPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).

“If we were a TIA County and had TSPLOST, we would only be required to have put up a 10 percent match as opposed to the 30 percent we are required to match now,” explained Mestres.

TSPLOST is a one penny sales and use tax that counties can put up for a referendum, which the county is considering doing in 2018. The monies collected from TSPLOST must be used for transportation projects or infrastructure projects related to transportation.

“It would just free up more SPLOST money to do other critical improvements to the county that are non-transportation related,” said Mestres. “We recognize our critical transportation infrastructure as a priority in Morgan County. Our public works team continually evaluates all roadways and offers recommendations with regard to the ordering of road resurfacing.”

The resurfacing projects for Newborn Road and Apalachee Road should begin next Spring.

“It will kick-off as soon as paving season restarts in the middle of March,” said Mestres. “We hope to be done by no later than August 2018.”

The county will also receive another grant to help fund the cost of equipment purchases through the Department of Transportation (DOT).  This year, the county has asked for $172, 640 through this grant program. The county would have to match those funds dollar for dollar under the current cost-sharing requirement for the grant. The county is also asking $3,792 for small equipment purchases. The county has a 10 percent matching requirement for this portion of the grant.

“Property tax dollars handle a big portion of the budget, but we are always looking for grant money to help offset the cost of property taxes,” explained Mestres.

The county is also applying for another grant, the GEMA Preparedness Grant through Georgia’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, to help fund the cost of four solar-powered signs in case of emergencies.

“This grant is particularly for procuring public warning and notification signage,” said Mestres. “We are going to purchase four portable message boards that can be placed in strategic locations to warn citizens of weather warnings or other potential hazardous events.”

The signs are three feet high and six feet wide. The cost of four of those signs amounts to $56,000. If the county receives the grant, the county would have to pay for 15 percent of the cost, which amounts to $8400.

“We will be able to send whatever message we want with LED lighting and we can change the message as necessary,” said Mestres. “This helps tie in with our other pre-disaster mitigation efforts like the tornado warning sirens, the code red,  and the tornado shelters…We believe that it is important to be a proactive community so that when natural disasters occur, we can give as much advanced warnings to our citizens as possible,” said Mestres.

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