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Courthouse To Get New Cooling System

The cooling system at the Jeff Davis County Courthouse has been a headache for the County Commission for some time now as the antiquated cooling tower has had intermittent problems for years.
A few weeks back, those problems came to a head and, as a result, the courthouse has been without a cooling system for weeks. Court sessions have been cancelled and employees work in uncomfortably warm offices.
At last week’s county commission meeting, the commissioners approved a bid from Mock Mechanical Services of Savannah to replace the old cooling tower at a cost of $153,551. County Administrator Keith Carter said the parts are being shipped in and he is in hopes the new tower will be put into operation the first week in August.
The approval came on a 4-0 vote (Brad Crews was not present for the meeting) but it didn’t escape a moment of controversy as, during the public comments section, Rhonda Walsh said she was upset with the bidding and voting process, saying the commission did not follow its policy and procedures on getting bids for the project.
Also during public comments, David Desousa of the Board of Tax Assessors reported that the digest was complete and had been forwarded to the Tax Commissioner.
Desousa also addressed the pending renewal of the county employee insurance policy, which Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield had quoted on, with a 27.1% increase in premiums. The county rejected the bid and went with another policy that cut the increase down to 11%, leaving the total price at $172,104.
Desousa suggested that, with less than six weeks to make a final decision, the commissioners appoint a citizen committee made up of people with insurance knowledge to make a recommendation.
In other action, the commissioners ….
…. approved Joint Development Authority Executive Director Andrea Taylor’s request to grant a tax abatement plan for work being done at Hazlehurst Wood Pellets.
…. approved a license to sell beer and wine for That Little Store.
…. okayed Kresha Aycock as a member of the Jeff Davis County Library Board.
…. gave approval to a suggestion by County Attorney Carla Powell that the cost for pauper burials be increased from $250 to $500.

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