City Council Hears Golf Committee Report
MARY ANN ANDERSON
When Gary Evans, chairman of the advisory committee in charge of making recommendations to the Hazlehurst City Council about matters relating to the city-owned civic center and golf course, spoke to the council during last Monday’s monthly workshop, in short he told the members they could either keep the golf course, lease it to Joe Kahn of Blueberry Plantation in Alma or sell it to local businessman and entrepreneur Olin Wooten, who had made an offer to buy it.
Then, during last Thursday’s regular monthly meeting, after hearing a motion from Ward 2 Councilman John Ramay to accept the advisory committee’s second offer of leasing the golf course and civic center to Kahn and Blueberry Plantation and unanimously passing that motion, it ended months, if not years, of speculations, arguments and negotiations among the council of just what to do with the money-draining property.
The vote came after a final plea from Ward 1 Councilman Dywane Johnson, who alluded to the idea that people move to Hazlehurst only to “retire and die,” before he added, “For God’s sake, Hazlehurst and Jeff Davis County, please we’ve got to pull together to keep something for our people … we just can’t continue to die.”
With Mayor Bayne Stone admitting there are “legalities and work” that have to be completed before the lease handover can take place, an unspoken collective sigh of relief seemed to pass among the council members that they had finally come to the end of a long fairway to get the project behind them.
The council also voted to fix the city’s potholes. The joke around Hazlehurst is that it is the most religious city in Georgia because it has the “hole-eist” roads.
“Our streets are in a mess, and I’m not joking,” said Ward 3 Councilwoman Diane Leggett in her plea to get something done about the city’s potholes. “We need to get our streets in shape.”
Without offering specifics about which streets need the most work or a timeline of when work is to be completed, the council again unanimously passed a motion to get repairs on streets and street corners where the asphalt has eroded away.
In other action during both Monday’s and Thursday’s meetings, the council ….
…. in previous meetings after approving Hazlehurst as a certified City of Ethics, voted to approve Margie Hill and Lenita Thompson to the accompanying ethics committee.
…. discussed but made no formal motion on annexing property on Leslie Road and Ashley Way into the city limits so that residents of those areas can get better water and city services.
…. approved a request by Chris McEachin of the Water Department to have outside sources complete thorough inspections of the city’s 27 lift stations at a cost of about $2,900.
…. okayed December 2022’s water and sewer adjustments, departmental reports and check register.
…. after hearing from City Clerk Vernice Thompson, approved cross training and orientation from Caselle government account software for administrative employees of the city for accounts receivable and payable, human resources, general ledger and utility management, among other functions. Training is scheduled for March 27-30 and will cost around $4,000, plus travel expenses.
…. approved travel and expenses for Fire-Rescue Chief Charles Wasdin to attend the Southeastern Fire Chief’s conference from June 12-16 in Wilmington, N.C., and for Colby Hughes to attend First Responder training Feb. 27-Mar. 3 at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth.
…. because City Clerk Thompson and Deputy Clerk Lorrie Williams, who is still recovering from a recent illness, will not be available for the March regular meeting, agreed to combine the workshop and regular meeting into one session on Monday, March 13, at 5 p.m.
…. heard a presentation by Ron Hoffman of Utility Management Services to streamline utilities procedures; the council took no formal action on the matter.
…. after hearing from Wasdin, agreed to purchase security cameras for his department.