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County talks SPLOST projects, hazard plan

Pike County commissioners discussed moving forward with SPLOST projects after the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was approved by voters in the March 1 election. County manager John Hanson said SPLOST passed with 74% of votes and that showed they are looking for improvements. He said he and public works director Todd Goolsby had already met with one city and discussed receiving Request for Proposal bids to pave. ’When we get those bids back, we will look at how far that money will go on the projects we’ve already designated,’ he said. ‘Then we’ll discuss options to move forward. I think our citizens are looking for immediate results and I think our roads need it. By pooling the projects together, we will make these dollars go further. It would be hard to bid one road and get a better price.’ Hanson said shoulder work on Williamson-Zebulon and McKinley roads was underway. Repairs on a culvert on Johnson Road were complete and work is ongoing on Nazareth Church Road to replace three large 96-inch culverts. He said a meeting with GDOT has been held to discuss widening Kings Bridge Road. Commissioners commended EMA director Jimmy Totten and those who helped with the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. Katie Westbrook, the contractor from LUX Communications who helped write the plan, presented the board with a check for nearly $18,000 as reimbursement from GEMA. He said the county received a $24,000 grant, with $18,000 provided by GEMA and $6,000 provided through local in-kind contributions to help develop the Hazard Mitigation Plan. ’We didn’t spend any money on this project and we had in-kind contributions of time from county employees and local citizens, bringing the in kind contributions to well over what was required,’ said Totten. A Hazard Mitigation Plan is required for each county in the state and must be updated every few years. Several commissioners thanked Totten for his work on the time-consuming project. ’Jimmy has spent a lot of hours and worked very hard on this plan,’ said county manager John Hanson. ‘It has been a pleasure to work with Katie and Laura and we had representatives from each of the cities here to help. We had a lot of response from the community and that is what it takes for a successful project. I want to commend all of you for a job well done.’ Commissioners briefly discussed a letter sent to them and the newspaper regarding animal control in the county. Hanson said a SPLOST was proposed in the past to help with animal control issues but was turned down by citizens. He said the county has animal control as required by state law and that having an animal shelter is an expense the county has not been able to afford. ’The county has made some good strides in the last couple years,’ he said. ‘The commission stepped up and passed an ordinance and arranged for a facility to meet state requirements. It’s a pretty big undertaking to have a full time shelter. The need is growing every day and hopefully in the future we will be able to prove that service.’ Commissioners heard from county attorney Rob Morton that every month animal control cases are prosecuted in magistrate court and eight citations were recently issued for four dogs whose owners did not follow the rules. ’The county is doing what it can, but it’s not in the animal shelter business,’ said Morton. ‘There is a need for animal control and a lot of that need is within the municipalities. We are discussing what joint services we can offer and many of the cities have expressed an interest in working with the county in regards to animal control. Right now we are doing the best we can with what we have.’ The county also: ’¢ Opened sealed bids for review regarding a CD for cash reserves. Commissioners unanimously approved awarding the bid to United Bank, contingent on further research. ’¢ Approved request of Ben Maxedon to use the courthouse grounds Thursday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a National Day of Prayer ceremony. ’¢ Approved request of Bryan Richardson, commander of American Legion Post 197 to use the courthouse grounds Monday, May 30 from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. for the Pike County Memorial Day program. ’¢ Reappointed Tom Lacey and Rex Yerkes to fill three-year terms on the Pike County Agribusiness Authority for terms set to expire March 31, 2019. ’¢ Approved request for additional $2,700 to be paid from Recreation Impact Fee funds for additional work done at the recreation department. ’¢ Approved a request to refund $50 to Alva Gardner and Linda Riggins for a building permit at 816 McCrary Road. The permit was for a carport and the structure was never built. ’¢ Approved, at the recommendation of planning and development, to allow alterations to the previously approved final plat for Irish Hill subdivision to combine lots 35 and 36 and lots 57 and 58. ’¢ Heard commissioner Tim Guy thank sheriff’s office deputies for their professionalism and putting their lives on the line during a high speed chase in Molena. Hanson said public works employees were on Sands Road when the vehicle came through, nearly hitting the workers.

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