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County agrees to pay half of new carpet bill

Grady County commissioners, following a lengthy discussion, voted Tuesday to invest $3,500 in new carpeting at the county’s mental health facility located on North Broad Street.
Commissioners met this week with Christine Mayer of Georgia Pines Community Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases to discuss her request for county financial assistance in purchasing the new carpet.
Mayer informed commissioners that a new federal addictive disease program is slated to be housed at the county mental health facility and with the new program comes federal auditing.
“They are more ticky than the state and we know improvements will have to be made that exceed our budget,” Mayer said.
She thanked county officials for the responsiveness of the county’s building and grounds crew and said that Georgia Pines staff had done some painting at the facility to save money.
“We’ve painted nine rooms in the past month,” she said, and added, “We need it to look good to make people feel good about being there.”
According to Mayer, group counseling programs currently housed at the facility are designed to reduce the need for hospitalization.
She says that most of the clients reside in personal care homes. Thirty to 40 clients are enrolled at any given time, and they spend approximately 25 hours per week at the facility. Through the program, clients are taught independent living skills, according to Mayer.
Although Georgia Pines has operated the program out of the county-owned facility for a decade or longer, Grady County administrator Carlos Tobar says the county does not have a rental agreement in place with Georgia Pines for use of the facility.
County officials were also not certain Tuesday morning if the county paid the utilities at the facility, but Mayer said she was almost certain that the utilities were paid by Georgia Pines.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland asked if Georgia Pines officials had considered investing in tile, which she said would last longer and was easier to maintain.
According to Mayer, the large common area is tiled, but she said the smaller classrooms and offices were all carpeted. She said that the noise dampening effect of the carpet was also important.
Commission Chairman Charles Norton questioned Mayer about Georgia Pines no longer providing services for Grady County jail inmates and if that service could be renewed.
Mayer said she would ask the staff member over that program to make contact with county officials about the possibility of serving local inmates again.
Commission Vice Chairman Elwyn Childs, who sits on the Georgia Pines board, spoke up for the program and encouraged the board to support the request. “I’m comfortable with helping out with the flooring,” Childs said.
According to Tobar, the only funding available to assist with the purchase would come from the county’s contingency fund, which at his last check, totaled $44,000.
The board voted unanimously to pay $3,500 or half of the projected cost of $7,000 for the new carpeting.
Mayer said she obtained two quotes with the lowest being from J&J Carpets of Cairo for $7,000 and she offered to obtain a third bid if necessary. The board did not respond to the offer.

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