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Residents seek relief from storm drainage

Residents of Pine Lakes Drive in south Grady County appeared before the Grady County commission Tuesday seeking relief from stormwater drainage that residents say is causing property damage and vehicles to get stuck.
Geraldine Dixon, a resident of Pine Lakes Drive, served as the spokesperson for the group. She shared photos and even a video of the water that she says drains from Lower Hawthorn Trail down Pine Lakes Drive.
District 3 Grady County Commissioner Charles D. Norton, who represents the Pine Lakes development, told residents the county is prohibited from doing work on private property.
Norton said the pipe that was installed by the developer for a crossing into the Pine Lakes subdivision is undersized. That, combined with the natural drainage flow, is causing issues for residents during heavy rain events.
“I don’t know the answer. I’d like to help you folks out, but our hands are tied when it comes to work on private property,” Commissioner Norton said.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland asked Commissioner Norton if a larger pipe would help solve the situation.
The District 3 commissioner said that a larger pipe would allow the water to drain, rather than back up and run over the top of the drainage ditch and the road.
However, he noted it would be the residents’ responsibility to replace the pipe at their expense since it is on private property.
Commissioner Copeland asked if the county could sell the appropriate pipe to the residents, and Commissioner Elwyn Childs said that could be done.
Commission Chairman Billy Poitevint also told the residents the county would transport the pipe to the site, but it would be the residents’ responsibility to have it installed.
Ms. Dixon said that she had been told by county officials at the road department that the county could not sell the residents the pipe or install it.
Commissioner Norton told Ms. Dixon he thought the county could legally sell the pipe to the residents.
Grady County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley was absent Tuesday and not available to offer legal advice to the board. Vice Chairman T.D. David also was not present Tuesday.
Commissioner Norton said the pipe would need to be larger than the pipe running underneath Lower Hawthorn Trial and would need to be 24 inches or larger. He also said the county may have to order the appropriate pipe.
Commissioners told residents they would instruct Road Superintendent Yancey Maxwell to make a recommendation on the appropriately sized pipe and order it if necessary. The board also will advise the residents of the cost of the pipe before ordering it.
In other business Tuesday, commissioners:
Discussed the need for county department heads and elected officials to submit their budget requests for 2014 by early May to meet the deadlines involved in adopting a budget and setting the required millage rate. County Clerk Carrie Kines said that the requests would be submitted to commissioners by May 1.
Accepted the low bid of $10,420 from Lewis Steel for the purchase of 16 dumpsters.
Authorized the Florida State University film school to do motion picture filming at the former Grady County Jail.
Met behind closed doors with consultant Tom Berry, who is assisting the board with the search for a new county administrator.

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