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City Commission to discuss middle school bonds during pre-meeting caucus Monday

Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023–5:04 p.m.

David Crowder, WRGA News

It will be an early caucus for Rome City Commissioners Monday, as discussions continue regarding the issuance of bonds for the Rome Middle School project.

The caucus will begin at 4 p.m. in the Sam King Room at Rome City Hall.

“The big question is obviously the finance fees, and that’s what everybody on the city commission is having a hard time getting their arms around,” said Rome City Manager Sammy Rich. “So our bond counselor will be with us along with the Rome City Schools and their architect representative from Southern A & E will be here to answer some more questions. Hopefully, we are moving in a positive direction to try and get a decision made so we can figure out what the next step is going to be.”

The school system is asking the city to back $103 million in bonds that would be paid back using proceeds from special purpose local option sales taxes for education.

During a work session last week, Commissioner Mark Cochran, who chairs the finance committee, spoke about the possibility of splitting the bonds up, saving money on interest, and reducing the number of years it would take to pay them back.

A number of commissioners indicated support for exploring that option further.

The Rome City Commission will consider a number of zoning applications during their regular meeting Monday night.

A developer’s request to build more than 400 apartments on a 32-acre tract next to the North Pointe subdivision off the North Broad Extension comes with a recommendation from the planning commission to deny.

The planning commission is recommending approval of plans to build 24 townhomes on the vacant 1.67-acre North Broad Youth Center site,  a 4,000-square-foot brick office building at 303 E. First St., and special use permits to build duplexes at 115 and 117 E. Main St.

The commission will also consider approval of a recommendation from the Rome Alcohol Control Commission.

“That is a recommended amendment to our alcohol ordinance establishing a new category of pouring establishment and the definitions and restrictions that go with that,” said Rome City Clerk Joe Smith. “It is known as the “small bar ordinance.’”

The idea is to allow smaller establishments to be able to sell liquor without having to meet the city’s 50-50 food-to-drink ratio.

The proposed regulations include maximum square footage, certain hours of operation, limits on entertainment, and no off-premise catering.

Tonight’s Rome City Commission meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Rome City Hall.