There is much confusion, misunderstanding, misrepresentations and unfounded fears about roundabouts swirling around Jeff Davis County — especially on social media — and it pained me to watch the video of last Thursday night’s Hazlehurst City Council meeting to see the council members having to deal with all of this.
So bad is it that last week, three members of the Jeff Davis County Board of Education (John Girtman, Greg Brantley and Randy Smith) voted against giving the City the needed right-of-way for the roundabouts, forcing a 3-3 tie (only six of the seven members were present), causing the motion to fail and almost stopping work on the project. [The Board met again later in the week and approved helping the city by a 5-2 vote with Smith having a change of heart]
Then at Thursday’s meeting, Council Member John Bloodworth moved to quash the project but he couldn’t get a second to his motion.
Watching Thursday’s video and considering the Board’s actions, I sat down and wrote a long column about the matter. A long column with the facts — not the social media opinions, however well-intended. But after hours of work, I trashed it, thinking, “What’s the use?”
When people are so staunchly against something, the facts don’t matter. It would just be wasting valuable space in my newspaper.
Let me just say this. I and the other members of the Hazlehurst City Council acted in an honorable, good faith fashion. We were faced with a dangerous traffic situation at those two intersections with more accidents occuring there than anywhere else in the city. Had we not come up with a workable solution we would have been derelict in our duty.
We did our best. And roundabouts will improve safety and enhance traffic flow.