TIFTON — The upcoming vote on T-SPLOST is a must pass issue, according to Tift County Board of Commissioners Chairman Grady Thompson.

“This is a thing we’ve got to do if we intend to keep our roads up,” said Thompson at the Jan. 8 meeting of the Tift County Board of Commissioners.

Thompson serves on the executive committee for T-SPLOST.

“Tift County has come up and pretty much everything we had on there was okay,” said Thompson. “I had to get DOT to splice in some money for the City of Tifton…Our county and city put together a good selection of roads to fix.”

The 18-county, 1-cent sales tax is set to be voted on in May. If passed, funds generated from T-SPLOST would be used for roads.

“DOT [Georgia Department of Transportation] is going to splice in $80-100 million to help all of us with our roads if we pass T-SPLOST,” said Thompson. “If we don’t pass T-SPLOST, we will not get the money…One of the big things that’s happened in Atlanta, Georgia, they are tired of sending money to southern Georgia and southern Georgia doesn’t do anything to fix their roads…[they] don’t have the money.”

The T-SPLOST will pass or fail on a region-wide popular vote. It’s possible several individual counties could vote against it, but it still pass for the region as a whole.

“You know what made Rome famous?” said Thompson. “It’s their roads. That’s the reason why they were as strong as they were, because they had good roads.”

The board approved qualifying fees for 2018.

Several county offices are up for election: TCBOC districts 1, 3, 4 and 6, Tift County Board of Education districts 2, 4, 5 and 6, solicitor general and state court judge.

The proposed qualifying fees are: state court judge, $3,500.06; solicitor general, $3,332.85; county commission, $282.24; and board of education, $36.

Qualifying will take place March 5-9, starting at 9 a.m. March 5 and ending at noon, March 9.

At the beginning of the meeting, commissioners prayed for commissioner Donnie Hester, who was absent from the meeting due to medical issues.

The board also approved:

• purchasing a 2016 sheepsfoot drum roller for the road department. A low bid of $85,500 came from Flint Equipment for a John Deere.

• a five-year lease agreement for a 2017 front end loader. for a Caterpillar for $152,943 with a $83,646 buyback. The budget impact of the lease would be $17,801.16 per year.

• preparing Lake Wisteria Drive for paving.

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