DeKalb CEO Thurmond pitches road repairs to restore public’s trust

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DeKalb CEO Thurmond pitches road repairs to restore public’s trust

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DeKalb County CEO Mike Thurmond discussed road repairs, Sheriff Jeff Mann's arrest and other topics during a press conference Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at the Manuel Maloof Auditorium in Decatur. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond is asking residents to support a sales tax hike to pay for road repairs, saying it would be a “game-changer” for the county.

If voters approve the sales tax increase in November, from 7 percent to 8 percent, Thurmond said Wednesday the government will deliver better roads and infrastructure.

“We have to demonstrate to the voters and to the people that we’re worthy to serve,” Thurmond said. “I promise you that we will get this job done, and get it done in a way that every citizen can be proud of.”

The proposed special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) would raise about $100 million a year, dedicated mostly to fixing hundreds of miles of pothole-filled roads that have decayed over the years.

The SPLOST could also be used for police and firefighter training facilities along with other infrastructure.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners plans to decide on a list of projects this summer before the November vote on the sales tax.

Thurmond was speaking at a press conference to talk about the proposed SPLOST but also took the opportunity to discuss other issues facing the county, including the recent arrest of Sheriff Jeff Mann.

Thurmond said Mann’s arrest for allegedly exposing himself and fleeing police is a “setback,” but Thurmond will seek to earn residents’ trust.

“Despite these setbacks, we are focused and our mission is clear: We’re going to clean the sewers, pave the roads, mail accurate water billsclean up the trash and improve quality of life,” Thurmond said.

Thurmond asked residents to withhold judgment on Mann, saying the sheriff is innocent until proven guilty. Thurmond oversees more than 6,000 county employees, but he doesn’t have authority over the sheriff’s office.

“I want to say this: The charges presently pending against the sheriff conflict with how I have known this man in terms of his professionalism,” Thurmond said.

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In other DeKalb news:

DeKalb county voters could soon approve or deny a $0.01 tax hike come November, increasing DeKalb's sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent for a road improvement project fund.
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