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Grady County residents who suffered damage from Hurricane Michael still have time to obtain building permits at no charge in order to make necessary storm repairs.
On Tuesday night, the Grady County Commission voted to continue waiving building permit fees for storm damage repairs through May 31, 2019.
The board’s action was retroactive since permits have been waived since last October when the hurricane struck. Commissioner Ray Prince, who was serving as commission chairman at the time, authorized the county code enforcement department to waive fees for all storm related repairs, but the board never authorized the chairman’s action.
“We understand why Mr. Prince did what he did and we would have all agreed, but this is just something that fell between the cracks,” Chairman LaFaye Copeland said Tuesday night.
Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, agreed and said that nothing malicious had taken place. “It was an extremely busy and hectic time,” Johnson said.
To date, the county has issued 317 permits for new roofs at a value to residents of $12,680; 60 electric permits at a value of $1,800; and 32 building permits, which would have cost $3,200.
“It was a good thing to do and we should be doing things to help our people,” the administrator said.
County officials say that permits are waived only on verified storm related repairs and that all other permit fees remain in effect.
“We are giving everyone until May 31 to obtain a permit and the permit is good for six months so there shouldn’t be any reason why someone who needs a permit cannot get one before May 31,” Johnson said.
In other business Tuesday night, during one of the shortest county commission meetings in recent memory, the board:
Learned that a request for $2,000 for the Grady County Senior Center had been pulled from the meeting agenda. The county administrator reported that newly elected District 5 Commissioner Phillip Drew had come forward and offered to make a $2,400 donation annually to the Senior Center, which eliminated the need for action by the board. “This takes the burden off the county and at the same time Commissioner Drew is assisting the Senior Center,” Johnson said. Commissioner Prince told Commissioner Drew, “It’s a very good thing to do.”
Learned that a request to increase the monthly appropriation to the District Attorney’s office to $4,692.08 per month was being postponed. Johnson explained to D.A. Joe Mulholland that the county’s operating budget was January to December and not July to June, as are state offices. “The district attorney is fine with us waiting and including this in our 2020 budget,” the county administrator said.
Approved of the county administrator launching a social media page for the Grady County Lake Authority, which would be used to share information with the public about the activities of the authority and information on Tired Creek Lake. Administrator Johnson said the page would not permit comments to be posted.
Heard a report from Commissioner Keith Moye, who said he had received a call from a neighbor of the new manned garbage site on Beck Branch Road to say how nice the new facility is. The county administrator noted that county road superintendent Stanley Elkins is investigating the best type of tree or shrub to plant to provide a vegetative buffer around the site. According to Johnson, work is already well underway on a third manned site near the road department offices on North Broad Street.
Heard a report from Johnson on capital asset training that he and other county personnel had attended this week. The training was provided through the county’s Archway Partnership with the University of Georgia. Johnson also credited the work of UGA students who are wrapping up an Internet based marketing campaign/website for the community. “I can’t say enough good stuff about Archway,” the county administrator said.
Heard remarks shared by Commissioner June Knight regarding the need for solar powered lighting at the boat ramps at Tired Creek Lake. Grady County Lake Authority executive director Mike Binion, who was present Tuesday night, alerted the board that he had previously ordered and had received lights and was waiting on county building and grounds personnel to assist him with the installation. “We’re already on top of it,” Binion said.
Learned that the Lake Authority will hold a joint meeting on Wednesday, May 1 with authority consultant Will Butler at the courthouse beginning at 10 a.m.