2018-09-12 / Front Page

Contentious issues

Commissioner training, Public Safety agreement

Commissioner training and Public Safety became contentious items of discussion at Monday’s county commission meeting.

County Administrator Spencer Mueller gave the commissioners updates on several projects, including the Fourth Street Design & Construction painting of the courthouse which began Aug. 27. The $474,550 project is scheduled to be completed in approximately two months.

He noted the DOT had completed inspection of the crack seal and painting project at the airport. He also noted bids for the electrical revamp project at the airport were opened Sept. 5.

The low bid was $1.2 million. However the county has 120 days to accept the bid which they will not do until their application for $1.3 million in FAA supplemental funds for the project is approved.

He also discussed the need to replace the damaged culverts on County Road 271, the entrance road to Republic Conduit in Cedar Springs.

County attorney Bill Mills gave a report to the commissioners, including the fact that the court in the Pioneer Health Services will likely file action to get the indigent care funds the county withheld following the bankruptcy.

The commissioners approved a contribution agreement with the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts for the purpose of providing land conservation assistance.

Most of the discussion at Monday night’s meeting revolved around funding for board member training and public safety.

The funding for training discussion was sparked when the board did not approve funds for Commissioner Jeffery Haynes to attend a Regional Commission Training conference Nov. 7-9 in Savannah.

Commissioners Taylor Bridges and Ladon Durham voted against the funding of the trip. Haynes and Charlie Sol voted to approve the spending.

Sol insisted Early County was falling behind other counties by not participating in training opportunities.

He and Haynes both insisted additional funds be included in next year’s budget for training.

The public safety discussion was prompted by a question about the status of Public Safety during public comments.

County attorney Bill Mills told Wimbush Public Safety was operating under a continuation agreement as the public safety agreement had not been signed by the city or the sheriff.

Chairperson June Merritt stated the county had signed the “old agreement” in January, but the city had not signed the agreement. She noted that a “new agreement” included some changes, but had not been signed by any of the parties.

Sheriff William Price noted the lack of an agreement is having a negative effect on law enforcement. “I have lost five officers in recent months,” he stated. “And I can’t hire anyone to replace them because I can’t tell them how long they will have a job.”

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