MARY ANN ANDERSON
Last week was a busy one for the Hazlehurst City Council, with their June work session and regular meeting held on Monday and Thursday, respectively, followed by a called meeting on Friday morning with officials from Georgia State Patrol and Triple H Specialty Co., to discuss the handling of an outstanding invoice from 2020.
Ward Two Councilman John Ramay, who was out of town because of family medical matters, attended all three meetings by telephone.
The Council covered plenty of ground in the workshop and regular meeting, including ….
…. okaying the 2021-22 budget of $5,499,125, with all legal requirements of publication and public hearings satisfied.
…. after hearing a detailed presentation in the work session by Brenda Reynolds of McLendon-Reynolds Insurance of Hazlehurst, approved in the regular session on Thursday the city’s property, liability and worker’s compensation insurance renewal for 2021-22 at a cost of $272,328, an almost $35,000 increase from 2020-21. Mayor Bayne Stone added that the city also pays 100 percent of the $660,000 cost of employees’ medical and life insurance, bring the total annual payout for insurance of almost $1 million.
…. confirming after a firsthand visit by and follow-up letter from Commissioner Spencer Moore of the Georgia Department of Driver Services that Hazlehurst has been officially approved for a driver’s license facility, to include CDL licensing. The land, Stone explained, was donated by the Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Joint Development Authority, with site development work to be completed by the City and at the City’s cost. The building itself will be funded completely through the DDS. The council voted unanimously to move forward with the project.
…. tabling an agenda item to discuss an intergovernmental agreement between the City and Jeff Davis County regarding Jeff Davis Recreation Department and Hazlehurst Water World Splash Pad.
…. authorizing Stone to sign the 2021-22 Department of Corrections contract to continue using the work detail of the Bacon County Probation Detention Center for an annual cost of $49,318.
…. hearing a brief update from the Water Department’s Chris McEachin and Stone on the long-awaited fire hydrant repair and replacement project, work that McEachin termed “time-consuming.”
…. voting for several long-awaited road resurfacing projects, including portions of Hillcrest Avenue, Kings Lane, Burketts Ferry Extension, and Oak, North Railroad, McDonald, Rogers, Kelly and South Gill streets.
…. after hearing City Attorney Ken W. Smith give the second and final reading of two ordinances, the first an Ordinance for Event Permit for Authorized Catered Events with Licensed Off-Premises Alcohol Sales and the second the Ordinance Authorizing Event Permits for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages by the Drink for Consumption Off the Licensed Premises by a Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Caterer and the Licensing of Alcoholic Beverage Caterers, unanimously passed both.
…. approving May’s department reports, water and sewer adjustments and check register of bills already paid.
…. in the Mayor and Council’s Comments section of the work session, listening as Stone explained that Lizz Smoak of Hazlehurst will be taking over Hazlehurst Municipal Golf Course, or Twisted Pine Golf Course, as a contractor. Smoak then gave a presentation on her plans with the golf course, citing her 15 years as a marketing consultant, as well as another talk on opening an ice cream shop with her daughter in the City-owned caboose at the corner of South Williams and Latimer Streets. The council agreed unanimously to give her six months free rent for the caboose as well as assistance with water and sewer to get the business established. At the end of six months, her contracts will be negotiated.
…. after hearing complaints about the splash pad in the workshop, agreed along with the Hazlehurst Police Department to keep a closer watch on it to make sure water is clean and trash picked up. Then during Thursday’s session, Stone gave accolades and deserved recognition to HPD Chief Ken Williams and his entire department for their volunteer work at the splash pad. HPD Captain James Mock also gave a report of May’s departmental statistics, including 642 calls for service, 109 traffic stops, 48 citations issued, 61 warnings given, 52 new incidents and cases, 33 accidents, and 9,273 miles driven by patrol cars.
…. hearing from City Clerk Vernice Thompson, who said that all paperwork has been completed for the City to receive funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.