By Jamison Hooks
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) came to an agreement and unanimously approved a final list of proposed fast-tracked projects.
County Manager Michael Lamar presented the BOC with four potential options on how to allocate the $3 million worth of bond proceeds.
Each Commissioner weighed in on the proposals and expressed their opinions on which plan to go with.
Commissioner Ainslie spoke in favor of making sure the Recreation Department is taken care of in this decision.
“I don’t want to hold up on recreation. I don’t want to hold a decade of kids up. My roots is working with kids and providing a positive environment for them. Through the recreation department we’re doing a great service to the community and the economic development is there,” said Ainslie.
Ainslie continued to note that with more baseball and soccer fields we could begin to host tournaments, which would bring customers to our local hotels and restaurants.
Commissioner Philip Clack, who was a firefighter for 30 years and also serves on the Recreation Board, chimed in that public safety is a necessity for Morgan County.
“Since day one when I stepped in this seat I’ve been pro-public safety. It’s a need everywhere you go and this county has a need.
“We’re in a situation of having to pick and choose. When you have a bucket of money, everyone wants to put a hand in it.”
Commissioner Ellen Warren agreed with Clack that public safety is a concern and top priority.
After going back and forth, the BOC came to an agreement to go forward with Option B with one adjustment.
Option B proposes $1,974,000 of spending on recreation, which would include three baseball fields, two pavilions, a soccer field, and infrastructure such as lighting, fencing, and irrigation.
This option also budgets $951,000 to be spent on public safety, which allows three new patrol vehicles, 38 body cameras, a fire station, and 911 CAD system.
The Final category in option B has $75,000 budgeted for a Hard Labor Creek Reserve Capacity buy in.
With public safety in mind, the commissioners requested to forego one of the three baseball fields in order to build two fire stations instead of one.
The BOC unanimously voted to go this route in order to make sure both Godfery and Apalachee have their own fire stations.
Commissioner Warren was disappointed that a communications tower could not be worked into the budget but she was thankful for the sacrifice of a baseball field by the recreation department.
“This is like a family trying to decide if we’re going to buy a car or go on vacation. This way we can buy a cheaper car and still go on vacation,” said Warren.