By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor
Andy Ainslie, chairman of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners, shared the county’s accomplishments of which he is most proud and the future goals the county plans to undertaken in the coming year. “What sets our community apart from many locales is how committed our residents are to preserving our past, maximizing our present, and ensuring the vitality of our future,” said Ainslie. “Their commitment to these three distinct goals really helps make Morgan County the wonderful place it is to live and work.”
Ainslie identified the county’s most important accomplishments in the last year, which included gains in economic development, infrastructure improvement, community healthcare, and budget augmentations. Ainslie stands behind the county’s decision to aid Morgan Memorial Hospital in its endeavor to establish a brand new $35 million hospital in the county. “We supported a new hospital initiative through increased annual subsidy for FY16 to $998,000; and a commitment going forward to fund $1 million per year for the length of a loan.” Ainslie praised the county’s role in assisting with “the earthwork and infrastructure to bring Farmview Markets and 50 new jobs to Morgan County” and enable the “Mannington Mills expansion bringing over 200 new jobs to Morgan County.”
Ainslie also noted the county’s role in the Madison Lakes Wastewater Treatment Plant. “As 50 percent owner of the Madison Lakes Wastewater repaving, we have repaved or are currently repaving Oconee Road, Maddox Road, Sweetbriar Trace and Mt. Vernon Road.” Ainslie is proud of the county’s investments in capital equipment and new county employee positions, including four vehicles for the Roads and Bridges, Code Enforcement, Public Buildings and Fire departments and the addition of an assistant County Manager, a Transit Director, two firefighters and a Battalion Chief.
According to Ainslie, the county’s top four goals to complete in 2016. The first goal is to establish a solar project for county facilities through a solar array placed at the Public Safety Complex via a power purchase agreement with a third party investor. The second goal is to step-up the county’s commitment to paving and repaving county roads, especially on Fears Road (Davis Academy to Centennial Road), Newborn Road (I-20 to the county line), Old Buckhead Road (US441 Bypass to Buckhead Road), and Bethany Road (Seven Islands Road to Cedar Grove Road)committing to conducting a large amount of “much needed” county road paving and repaving. The third goal is make some Dirt Road Improvements. acknowledging the need “to improve the condition of our dirt roads, we will be improving the condition of our dirt roads throughout the year.” And the fourth goal is to continue the support and promotion of the Morgan County Farmers Market.
“In the Spring 2016, the Morgan County Farmers Market, located at Farmview Markets, will be open for business. This will be an outlet for our local growers to sell their wares,” said Ainslie. Ainslie also noted the county’s focus on finalizing the Comp Plan throughout 2016 and their commitment to preserving greenspace and establishing areas of “passive recreation,” specifically on the Lake Oconee Trail and in Braswell Park. “Our residents should know that we, their county elected officials and staff, are constantly striving to improve their lives through our local government services. Furthermore, we readily acknowledge we are far from perfect but we really are endeavoring every day to improve the way we do what we do,” said Ainslie.”