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Equipment, Trash Dominate Meeting

During the public comments section of last week’s County Commission meeting, Roland Reed addressed the commissioners about the need for Kornegay Road to be paved in its entirety and Rhonda Walsh discussed the need for improvements on Ralph Wommack Road.
The agenda item taking up most of the time at last Tuesday’s meeting was discussion of the condition of equipment in the Road Department and needs for new equipment there.
Road Department Interim Superintendent Eddie Bush discussed the need for a tractor to pull a lowboy trailer and said he had found a suitable one up for auction at Rebel Equipment. The commissioners had previously put a limit of $50,000 on the purchase of a suitable tractor, but after lengthy discussion they voted to increase the limit to $80,000, which they felt would be more than enough to win competitive bidding for the equipment.
The commissioners also discussed the need to dispose of unneeded existing equipment to make room for sheltering the equipment the department uses.
The commissioners also discussed the road graders in the department and the need for a tractor with a side cutter. The commission agreed to purchase a John Deere tractor with side cutter at a cost up to $135,000.
Trash pickup was again on the agenda, specifically about Matt King’s Jeff Davis County Trash Pickup. Commissioner Vann Wooten made a motion to allow King to dump the trash he picks up in county dumpsters and Commissioner Ricky Crosby seconded the motion. Allowing King to dump in county dumpsters would eliminate the need for him to take the trash to the city/county transfer station where he had to pay a fee.
But Commission Chairman Brad Crews and Commissioners Hank Hobbs and James Benjamin had concerns about allowing a private business to dump in county-owned dumpsters, saying it would open the door for other private businesses to dump in them. Crews at one point specifically mentioned Ryland Environmental which operates in Jeff Davis County.
Crosby argued that there is a need for King’s services as there are people in the county who are not physically able to carry off their trash and King offers to take it off for them for a fee.
After a long discussion, Wooten re-worded his motion, moving to allow a business to pick up local trash and put it in the county’s dumpsters. But Crosby said he wouldn’t second “a business,” as his original second was on a motion to allow King to dump in the county dumpsters.
Finally, Crosby made a motion to put the question of whether or not to have door-to-door trash pickup on a referendum and Wooten seconded. It will be the second time such a referendum has been put before the voters as, in 2012, the voters rejected having door-to-door trash pickup 2,796-1,031, almost a 3-to-1 margin.
Crews said that the citizenry has changed in the nine years since that vote and perhaps their opinion on the matter has changed as well. Hobbs said by using the referendum, the county is letting the voters decide and the commissioners won’t be making the decision.
The commissioners approved calling for the referendum.
In other action, the commissioners ….
…. heard an update on Jeff Davis County Recreation Department activities.
…. met new Joint Development Authority Executive Director Laura Bloom.
…. heard legal updates for County Attorney Andy Ramay. During the discussion Crews pointed out that the Department of Natural Resources plan to upgrade Burkett’s Ferry Landing included building an open shelter and a small pier to allow handicapped residents access to fishing, and putting down gravel in the landing parking lot.
…. heard from Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director Roger Ogilvie who plans to retire the first of November. He thanked the commissioners for their help during the past two years that he has served as director.
…. agreed to begin advertising for a new EMS Director, to include not putting a time limit for receiving applications but, rather, to include in advertisements that the position will be open until filled.
…. heard from County Clerk Heather Scott who said she had received phone calls concerning needed work at the Jeff Davis Learning Center and the Jeff Davis Seniors Center. Hobbs will follow up on the Learning Center and Crosby will follow up on the Seniors Center.
…. agreed 4-0 to begin the process to close a portion of Hugh McDaniel Road. Crews abstained from the vote as the road goes up to property he owns.
…. agreed to have Ramay research the legality of having several pieces of property, including the golf course, sewer treatment facilty and airport, all owned by the city, annexed into the Hazlehurst city limits.
…. approved a motion to begin the process to exempt citizens 67 years of age and older from paying school taxes on their residence and up to one acre of land.
…. met in closed session. After the meeting was reopened to the public, voted to name Scott the new County Administrator.

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