County Wants City To Abide By Contract

“A contract is a contract.”
That’s what County Commissioner Brad Crews said at last Tuesday’s August meeting of the Jeff Davis County Commission. His comment came after Commissioner Vann Wooten suggested the county complete the project at the Baxley Highway recreation site without the City of Hazlehurst complying with its obligations in the intergovernmental agreement between the two governments for the project.
Wooten said he had talked with the city and that discussion led him to conclude that the county should finish the project at its own expense.
Crews and Commissioner James Benjamin were not agreeable with the idea.
“So you think we should not hold them (the city) to the signed contract?” Crews asked Wooten. “A contract is a contract.”
While the city upheld part of its obligation, building the water park on the site, it has not followed through on other aspects of the agreement, including splitting the cost of renovating the concessions/restrooms area. The county has purchased a mobile concession stand and, according to Commission Chairman Ricky Crosby, it has to be moved to the site and a shelter put over it.
After much discussion, the commissioners voted 4-0 to finish the project (“As long as we can afford it,” Crews added) and Wooten is to go to a city council meeting to discuss the matter with the full council.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Commissioner Hank Hobbs, who was not at Tuesday’s meeting because of COVID-19 complications, contacted the Ledger later and said he was in favor of the county holding the city to the terms of the contract]
In other action, the commissioners ….
…. agreed for commissioners who wanted to to attend an Aug. 27-28 economic and development and branding retreat requested by Joint Industrial Development (JDA) Authority Executive Director Andrea Taylor.
…. approved County Clerk Heather Freeman’s request to apply for a Department of Natural Resources grant for repairs and upgrades to the county’s 341 parks and recreation site.
…. approved the county’s participation, along with the JDA, Chamber, Tourism and the City of Hazlehurst, on the cost of developing a downtown master plan for Hazlehurst. The plan is to have the downtown area designated a “Rural Zone” by the Department of Community Affairs to qualify for tax credits on job creation activities, investments in downtown properties and renovation of properties. A downtown area cannot be designated a “Rural Zone” without a downtown master plan.
…. heard details on a Chamber of Commerce blood drive set for July 28 with a competition between the city and county to see who could get the most donors.
…. agreed to hire a grader/cdl operator at the road department.
…. adopted a policy for public safety employees to follow during the Coronavirus outbreak.
…. appointed Chelsea Mabey to the Board of Tourism.
…. heard from Crews who alerted the commissioners to be thinking about helping the hospital with expenses in connection with COVID-19 testing on which the hospital was losing money.
…. heard from Wooten who said work will begin soon on widening Hwy. 268 and permission was sought to pile dirt at the caution light during the work.
…. took packages passed out by Crosby concerning an ordinance to regulate people moving mobile homes into the county.

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