The Brunswick City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve more than $15.8 million in projects to be funded by SPLOST VII, if voters approve a referendum question in May.
City Manager Jim Drumm presented a list of proposed projects that city commissioners amended at the special called meeting.
Among the big-ticket items are $4.033 million for storm drainage; $5 million for road improvements; $1 million for a ladder truck: $1 million for downtown parking; $570,000 for 15 patrol cars and $550,000 to upgrade software that will interact with all departments.
The police department will also get $100,000 for a generator and $10,000 for a drone that would be used for surveillance and crime scene investigations.
Public space and streetscape plan implementation on Norwich Street will receive $140,000 in funding.
Drumm said an estimated $18 million in stormwater projects have been identified in the city, but it would have wiped out the SPLOST budget. One goal with the road improvement projects was to match drainage and roadway projects, said city engineer Garrow Alberson. The main roads identified for improvements include Altama Avenue, and Albany and Norwich streets.
Initially, Drumm recommended $6.5 million for road improvements, but city officials chose to reduce the amount to $5 million. But storm drainage actually gained $500,000 in funding after Drumm’s list was modified and there was money left over after the proposed changes.
The changes also led to $600,000 for trails, originally recommended for $550,000. Sidewalk funding, originally recommended at $300,000 also benefitted from the changes with $500,000 in funding.
Old City Hall will receive $250,000 for improvements, while cemeteries will receive $54,000 for restoration and historic squares will receive $87,000 in funding.
Mary Ross Park will receive $500,000 for improvements, and the Ritz Theatre will receive $450,000 in funding to restore the building’s second and third floors. Offices and/or apartments will be build at the Ritz, which will generate additional revenue for the city and help stabilize the historic building, Drumm said.
Perhaps the most hotly debated topic was about a recommendation for $500,000 in improvements at the Roosevelt Lawrence Community Center. Commissioner Felicia Harris said improvements at the facility are long overdue.
“We have neglected that center for years,” she said. “We put all our money into Howard Coffin Park.”
Commission Johnny Cason questioned why there was no funding for Howard Coffin Park, but Harris said the community center is a priority. She won the debate and instead of receiving $500,000 in funding for the center, commissioners voted to increase the funding to $750,000.
The Roosevelt Harris Jr. Senior Center also benefitted from the debate over Howard Coffin Park. Instead of the recommended $100,000 to upgrade bathrooms to be Americans with Disabilities Act certified, commissioners chose to increase funding to $175,000.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the SPLOST budget, which will be submitted to the Glynn County Commission on Jan. 13.
City officials also approved a resolution that will enable them to apply for federal funding for planning, infrastructure and potential operations of a public transit system.