Commissioners are undecided on three big issues
Chairman Al Ball, at the urging of County Administrator Rusty Moye on behalf of the recreation advisory committee, sought to determine the commission’s desire regarding the proposed construction of a new aquatic center at Barber Park, which is a project the county’s voters approved in the last Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum.
Supporters of the pool project, according to county officials, pledged to raise $100,000 to go toward the construction of the new aquatic center, but Moye said Tuesday, “I don’t think you will ever see that $100,000.”
The county designated $900,000 for the aquatic center in the SPLOST.
“I still think we need to keep it on the backburner,” Commissioner Charles Norton said Tuesday.
Norton warned commissioners that the county could soon face a $1 to $2 million cost to update its public safety communications. “If we don’t get some kind of grant, we would have to come up with a lot of money for communications,” Norton said.
His comments were in reference to a narrowing of bandwidth by 2012.
Commissioner Elwyn Childs wondered aloud, “Is this the best time to start or not?”
Moye said that the price for concrete has dropped some, but not significantly. He also noted that with the sour economy he had expected the bids for the Old 179 reclamation project to drop, but when bids were opened they were right at the $2.5 million mark that was projected during the $4 per gallon gasoline days.
The county administrator asked the board if they would like to examine the pool when they begin compiling the 2011 operating budget.
“Primarily, what we are looking at is the cost of maintenance and operations. It would be nice for folks to have use of it now. It’s a difficult decision,” Commissioner Bobby Burns stated.
The consensus of the board was to discuss the matter in the new budget.
Another sticky wicket facing the board is the future of solid waste.
On Tuesday, the board received a request from John Brannon, owner of property at the intersection of GA Hwy 112 and Wilder Road, where county dumpsters have been located for many years, requesting the removal of the green boxes.
“This request represents a big hole in our solid waste collection. I would not be surprised if this is not just the first of many similar requests,” commented Vice Chairman Charles Renaud.
Commissioners for several months have batted around the idea of consolidating the number of county dumpsites in an effort to better manage and police what is being dumped and by whom.
“There is just not enough money to do it all. What is our priority?” commented Commissioner Burns.
Burns added he could support consolidating sites immediately if the plan did not include the expense of paving and fencing the consolidated sites.
He added, “we could do that today.”
“The problem with that would be, you would just have a bigger mess in one place,” Chairman Ball said.
Commissioners instructed Moye to contact Brannon and advise him the county is seeking a new location to move the dumpsters. County officials are hopeful Brannon will allow the dumpsters to remain for a short time until a new site or another decision can be determined.
Administrator Moye said it would be easier to consolidate sites in the northern part of the county as compared with the south.
Moye suggested he include one consolidated dump site with paving and fencing in his proposed budget and the board could discuss more at that time.
Commissioner Norton said that it is the cost associated with manning the site that concerns him.
The third and final topic up for discussion Tuesday was zoning for the unincorporated areas of the county.
Chairman Ball urged commissioners to make their feelings known whether or not they wished to begin a process to formally adopt a zoning ordinance or either drop the subject entirely.
Commissioner Childs said it did not matter if he thought it would be best or not, that he represented the people of District 1 and the feedback he has received is negative.
Childs suggested putting the matter on the ballot for the people to decide, but Administrator Moye questioned how the county could fully inform the public in order for them to make an educated decision.
Vice Chairman Renaud suggested the board, the planning commission and the public come together in the process of developing a zoning ordinance and then decide if it is best for the county.
“We all have certain ideas about zoning. Some are right and some are wrong. I think we need a work session to begin the process and get the right information for both the board and the public,” Renaud said.
After further discussion, the commissioners decided to schedule a work session on zoning to include officials with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission.