The August regular meeting of the Hazlehurst City Council was short and sweet, clocking in at under 20 minutes, with Mayor Bayne Stone leading the council quickly through the agenda.
To kick off the meeting, Andrea Taylor of the Joint Development Authority addressed the council, pointing out that a promised incentive package from the City of Hazlehurst and Jeff Davis County to EP American Footwear was voted on in 2014 by both governmental entities but never finalized.
“We need to get the bond issue done,” said Taylor. “Over the past few years, it kind of fell through the cracks. I’m not exactly sure what happened.”
She said the package, which includes tax incentives, needed only to be re-approved by the city – the county commissioners re-approved their portion during the Aug. 14 regular meeting – and that nothing had changed, only that the paperwork needed to be finalized to issue the bond.
With apologies from Stone on what he termed a “mistake,” the council voted to proceed with the bond.
In other action, the council unanimously passed a litany of motions, including ….
…. approving a proclamation commending Master David Wilson for his 50 years of accomplishments in the field of martial arts.
…. agreeing to the intergovernmental contract renewal with Jeff Davis County for the registrar’s office to continue administering city elections.
…. purchasing a new street sweeper for the city.
…. approving a collection of minutes for regular and called meetings for May and June, as well as departmental reports, water and sewer adjustments, and check register for bills paid in July.
…. agreeing to place a discussion for citywide fire ant and mosquito control on the agenda for the Sept. 17 work session.
…. agreeing to the request of Johnny Watkins to host the annual Hazlehurst Music Festival and Breast Cancer Walk for Oct. 6.
…. voting for Police Chief Ken Williams to attend the Public Safety Leadership Forum’s Active Shooter Response at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth on Aug. 28.
…. approving a beer and wine license application for Jay-Madi Mart, a convenience store located on Burketts Ferry Road.
In the Citizen Comments section of the meeting, the council also listened to Karen Edge, who expressed concerns that the city was not involved with Pineland Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities that is headquartered in Statesboro but has offices in Baxley. Members of the council explained to her that Pineland is an instrumentality of the State of Georgia and not a city-run program, and that Jeff Davis County falls under the umbrella of the Baxley office and is co-located for mental health services at Jeff Davis County Department of Family and Children Services.
Edge also asked why the city isn’t involved with the Jeff Davis County Library, with the council informing her that the library is administered by the county and the Jeff Davis Board of Education, with the city providing in-kind contributions for its water and sewer service.
Afterward, the council met in closed session on a real estate issue but took no action on the matter.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Hazlehurst City Council is Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.