$3 million project list sparks debate

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By Reann Huber

staff writer

County Manager Michael Lamar presented The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) with a potential plan for “FastTracked” Capital Projects.

At the previous meeting, Lamar discussed getting more accurate figures for the cost of each proposed project.

“As per your request I spoke with the different department heads to get better cost figures for the projects,” explained Lamar.

Projects listed on Lamar’s proposal included $701,000 designated for public safety items such as three new patrol vehicles and 38 body cameras as well as a 911 CAD system and a Fire Station for Godfery.

The proposal also designates $75,000 for a reserve capacity buy in at Hard Labor Creek.

The category with the highest dollar designation is recreation.

Lamar’s proposal for recreation includes baseball/softball fields, pavilions, restrooms, concessions stand, storage buildings, a maintenance shop, road and parking lot paving, sidewalks, and infrastructure such as irrigation, fencing, and lighting.

This project is to cost $2,224,000.

Commissioner Ellen Warren voiced an opinion on re-distributing the funds to favor more crucial projects.

“I absolutely support the Recreation Department but I think this is out of balance.  We would be spending almost 300k in restroom and concession facilities. I’m wondering if we could distribute this, another way,” proposed Warren.

Commissioner Andy Ainslie was content with the proposal as is and voiced a concern about missing a decade of children if the recreation project were to be postponed.

“I would like to see 80 percent of this park done now but that’s just me personally,” added Ainslie.

Warren also commented that she would like to see a communications tower put in at the public safety complex.

“To be honest, all of these are needs. If some items on here are more important than others I certainly understand,” said Lamar.

Under the direction of Attorney Christian Henry, the tower should be added to the preliminary documents by August 2.

“As long as it is included in the language you can then pick and choose which projects to go forward with,” said Lamar.

Lamar advised the tentative cost of the tower would be around $300,000.

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