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Aging Equipment, Employee Shortage Plague County

Aging equipment and a shortage of employees has been plaguing the Jeff Davis County Road Department.
That’s the message the Road Department’s Eddie Bush gave to the County Commission at its December meeting last Tuesday.
Bush said advertisements for employees were run in the newspaper but employee shortage continues to be a problem. And the impending departure of two employees will make the problem worse. Bush said his department is now down to only three employees with Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL) needed to operate some of the road department’s machinery.
Addressing the road department’s aging equipment, Bush said four of the department’s five motor graders need their gears re-ground, a job the department can’t do.
“We can’t do it,” Bush explained. “John Deere has to do it.”
Bush went over the expenses involved in the costly procedure, estimating it would cost $38,300 to fix the motor graders.
After discussing the issue, the commissioners agreed to proceed with getting the repairs done.
In other action at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners ….
…. appointed Kyle Varnadoe to fill an open seat on the recreation department board and Dustin Atkinson to replace a recreation board member who was not meeting board requirements.
…. agreed to appoint Wanda Marchant to an open seat on the Joint Development Authority (JDA).
…. appointed Monte Craft (Altamaha Bank), Butch Kirkley (Bank of Hazlehurst) and Sharon Brown (Renasant Bank) to the Revolving Loan Fund Committee.
…. denied an application to sell beer and wine in the former Sandy’s Trading Post because of the store’s close proximity to the park across the highway.
…. voted to accept the Jeff Davis County Land Use Ordinance.
…. tabled the matter of the water line expansion project to Thompson Hardwoods. JDA Executive Director Laura Bloom and Beasley Forests’ Kurt Davis had brought the matter to the commissioners in their November meeting, requesting county assistance with the project and Bloom was at last week’s meeting asking if there was an update on the issue. Commissioner Hank Hobbs said he understood that they were waiting on the city to submit an application for a grant to assist with the project. Bloom explained that the JDA had approved a donation to the project and she needed a commitment that the commissioners would approve an in-kind donation toward the project.
…. discussed the need for a clean-up bond for the Silicon Ranch projects in the county.
…. agreed to close the courthouse at noon on Dec. 22 for the Christmas holidays.
…. heard from Commissioner James Benjamin who asked about the prior discussions about eliminating school taxes for senior citizens.
…. met in closed session for almost an hour. After re-opening the meeting to the public, the commissioners voted to defend the county’s assessment of Greenbrier Apartments pending the appeal in Superior Court.

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