The Council voted 3-2 to turn down the $10,000 grant. Council members Jackie Jarrett and Jonathan Bishop voted to accept the money.
Local governments are required to match 30 percent of LMIG funds, meaning a $3,000 match from Nelson.
The City Council first discussed the grant on Dec. 20 but postponed the vote to Jan. 7. Council members Duane Cronic and Edith Portillo questioned the city’s need for the money.
Cronic said the city has $400,000 in SPLOST money, a third of which is marked for road improvements, and will collect another $700,000 from SPLOST VI.
Cronic said the city does not have a plan for its SPLOST revenue, which he said is “due to a lack of leadership in this area over the past few years.”
“We’ve got all this money for roads and streets, and it didn’t seem to matter until this $10,000 came in,” he said.
Portillo echoed the fact that the city doesn’t need the LMIG grant.
“We have, at the moment, $400,000 in SPLOST money. By the end of the year, we’ll have another $700,000. Were talking about $1 million there that we haven’t used,” she said.
Cronic said he plans to make a motion at the next City Council meeting to allocate local money for the projects that would have been covered by LMIG money, which comes from the state’s gasoline taxes.
Jarrett, who voted to accept the money, said he didn’t see the point of turning it down.
“If we say no, (the state is) going to put the money somewhere else or give it to someone else. I don’t see where it’s going to help anything,” he said.
Portillo said her vote was a political stand against greed.
“We have money we haven’t used, and we’re getting in more money. Why take this? It was just a point to be made. Everybody pays for that money,” she said.