2019-02-06 / Front Page

Early, Miller Forestry

County hears consolidation plans

Monday’s February County Commission meeting could be described as “business as usual” at the Blakely Theater with the biggest news being found in the “forest.”

The board heard reports from county attorney Bill Mills, administrator Spencer Mueller, E911 Matt Hromalik and Lequeshia Mincey, Erica Harris reported on MLK activities and Pataula Center for Children and Georgia Forestry Commission’s Chief Ranger Brock Holt.

Mills explained the Board needed to hold another first reading of an Ordinance for Enforcement of Environmental Regulations.

The ordinance incorporates by reference rules and regulations for the following which are already in force: rabies control, food services, tourist accomodations, on-site sewage systems, portable sanitation contractors, drinking water, solid waste, public swimming pools, spas and water parks and “Body Art” — Tattoo/Body Piercing Artists.

The second reading and adoption is scheduled for the March meeting.

Holt presented the 2018 Forestry Commission report for Early County noting that over 546 acres were destroyed by 37 fires; a total of 2,458 burn permits were issued; and a total of 864 miles of firebreaks were cut for 152 landowners.

He also discussed the consolidation of the Early and Miller County fire units and plans to construct a new forestry facility serving both counties at the intersection of U.S. 27 and the Damascus- Hilton Road.

He noted that the unit’s facilities in Blakely on the Cedar Springs Road was heavily damaged by the hurricane, but plans for the new facility were already underway. “It will allow us to provide better service to both counties,” Holt stated, adding, “The new location will also allow us to better serve in all directions.”

The fate of the iconic firetower has not been determined. The Georgia Forestry Service no longer uses the towers.

Mueller reported that Corps of Engineers contractors have made their final storm debris collection except for root balls, noting the county is now trying to determine how to collect the remaining debris.

He urged property owners not to continue piling debris roadside, but to pile on property and apply for burn permits.

Mueller gave updates on the culvert project on CR 271 serving Republic Conduit and widening and resurfacing of Old Lucile Rd., First Kolomoki Rd. and CR 271.

He is working with Three Notch and Mitchell EMCs hoping to expedite recovery of downed poles and wire to prevent damage and/or injury during mowing of right-of-ways.

He also noted that storm damage of roofs at the airport and courthouses in Rowena and Urquart had been completed.

The board tabled an appointment to the Planning Commission to fill the unexpired term of Jack Sanders and reappointed Wallace O’Neal and Taylor Bridges to the Golden Triangle board.

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