MARY ANN ANDERSON
All ears were on Jack Floyd as he spoke to the Hazlehurst City Council about the city-owned Twisted Pine Golf Course at last Thursday night’s monthly meeting.
With Ward 4 Councilman attending the meeting by telephone but the rest of the council intact, Floyd, a longtime local businessman and now-retired president of the Bank of Hazlehurst, told the council that after a recent golf outing with his grandchildren, he believed the course to be in the “best shape” it’s been in a while. He also stated that rumors were that the golf course would be closing because it’s losing money.
“You’ll have to decide if we’re going to continue to try to have a golf course,” he said to the council, also noting that a “certain group” from Hazlehurst chose to hold a recent tournament in Douglas at an 18-hole course rather than at 9-hole Twisted Pine, and then adding, “We’ve got a nice layout here, but the only problem is we don’t have enough people to play.”
During Floyd’s 20-minute presentation, he asked the council to “think of everything” to keep the course open, including partnering with the Jeff Davis County Board of Commissioners, whose budget is larger than the city’s, and Jeff Davis County School System to help with costs to keep it running. The only commissioner in attendance at the meeting was Vann Wooten from the Ocmulgee District.
After Floyd finished his talk, including offering volunteer services for golf course maintenance, Ward 2 Councilman John Ramay assured him that the golf course is not closing, although he is “very concerned” over its finances.
“Golf is a great sport,” Ramay said, adding that it’s a “valuable asset” for the community. He also told Floyd that the city is trying to lease it to private parties, but also agreed with him, saying, “The city, county and school system should take a fair share of being able to have the best golf course there is in the state of Georgia.”
With no formal action taken on the matter, Mayor Bayne Stone rounded out the conversation by stating that he helped build the golf course, that it has “contour” and “character,” and agreed with Ramay, saying that it’s a “real asset” to the community.
“As much as I love it, one of the last things I’ll do is give up,” Stone concluded.
In other action, the council ….
…. approved Hazlehurst Main Street’s “Valentines with Will” dinner and entertainment at Hinson Street Alley on Feb. 12, an event that will include alcohol, provided HMS can jump over legal hurdles.
…. after hearing Ramay explain that it was crucial the “falling in” ceiling at the city’s recycling office needs repairs, Stone said the city had hired local contractor Matt Bloodworth for the job.
…. listened as Ramay gave a brief update on the Georgia State Patrol station on U.S. Highway 341 South, saying it had “some problems” and that a punch list would need to be completed before it can be turned over to the GSP.
…. authorized Stone to find a lender with the lowest interest rate to pay off a nearly $170,000 settlement, plus attorney’s fees, with Dublin-based Ryland Environmental for the purchase of trash carts and rental time, an agreement that essentially promises to end a longtime contract dispute between that company and the city.
…. heard from City Clerk Vernice Thompson as she outlined accounting procedures for credit cards, purchase orders and requisitions recently put in place to streamline the city’s billing process.
…. heard a brief update from City Attorney Ken W. Smith on title work for the property where the Division of Driver Services is tentatively scheduled to be built.
…. approved travel and training for Hazlehurst Police Department’s Chief Ken Williams and Captain James Mock to attend the winter conference of the Georgia Chiefs of Police Association from Feb. 7-9 in Athens.
…. approved December’s water and sewer adjustments, departmental reports and check register for previously paid bills.
…. reappointed Thompson as the city’s representative on the Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Board of Tourism.
…. discussed but made no formal motion on paving the road at Hazlehurst Memorial Cemetery.