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Wooten, Kersey Clash At Commission Meeting

A private disagreement turned public last Tuesday at the October meeting of the Jeff Davis County Commission.
At the end of the Public Comments section of the agenda, Commission Chairman Jerry Wooten said he wanted to be placed on the agenda to discuss his problems with the Jeff Davis County Tax Commissioner’s office. When told he could not be put on the agenda, Wooten chose to address the situation during Public Comments.
Wooten said he bought a mobile home and was told he did not have to have a permit to move it, then was told that he had to get one. So he paid the $40 permit fee but added that he might be subject to a $1,000 penalty.
“I’ve been blamed for a lot of stuff and I’m about tired of it,” he said. “I got blamed for lots of things when Mr. Faulk (former County Administrator Gary Faulk) left. I think we need to look at the trailer ordinance so everyone is treated the same or let’s get rid of it.”
Tax Commissioner Susie Kersey did not take kindly to Wooten’s comments and she was ready to respond.
She brought to the commissioners’ meeting table all the work her office had done under the county’s mobile home ordinance and said, “We do make mistakes but I don’t try to treat anyone different. As of tonight, I am passing this back.”
The mobile home ordinance is a county ordinance, adopted by Wooten and his fellow commissioners several years ago, and was to be enforced by the County Commissioners’ office. But Kersey agreed to have her office administer the ordinance.
But apparently that arrangement came to an end Tuesday night.
The Public Comments section opened with the commissioners receiving a complaint about a deep ditch where Tallahassee Church Road intersections with Walter Phillips Road, and also where Walter Phillips Road intersects with Hwy. 221.
Allen Denmark, who recently resigned from the County Road Department, aired his grievances with the department.
Board of Tax Assessors member David Desousa brought up that the commissioners were supposed to discuss the Board of Assessors budget and Wooten said the matter would be discussed in closed session.
Joint Development Authority Executive Director Andrea Taylor appeared before the commission to request approval to loan EP American Footwear $80,000 out of a revolving loan fund to assist in the company’s purchase of $370,000 worth of equipment. The commissioners approved the request.
In other action, the commissioners ….
…. appointed Casey Cravey to the Department of Family and Children Services Board.
…. did not approve a request by Joseph C. Carter for a beer and wine ordinance because the location of the sales was too close to a church.
…. okayed an engagement letter for Mauldin and Jenkins to conduct the year end audit.
…. considered a request to use the recently purchased Woody Folsom property on the Lumber City Highway to hold a 3-day Come And See event. There was some discussion about whether the group putting on the event had sufficient insurance with the commissioners in disagreement about whether it would be necessary. A spokesman said Cromartie Street Church of God had agreed to sponsor the November event and could handle the insurance requirements. The commissioners agreed to allow the use of the property provided the event will be insured.
…. approved hiring a road department employee to replace an employee who retired. Commissioner James Benjamin voted against the matter saying he would rather know the name of the person being hired.
…. approved a bid from Quality Machine and Fabrication to fabricate four goal posts for the recreation complex on the Baxley Highway at $2,500 per goal and approved a bid from Tifton Turf for three bleachers.
…. agreed to close the courthouse during tropical storm Michael as recommended by the Emergency Management Agency.
…. met in closed session to discuss personnel but made no decision.

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