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Board of Commissioners Seeking Volunteers

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Staff Report

The Morgan County Commission met last Tuesday to discuss vacancies on various boards, building upgrades including a roof replacement for the Morgan County DFCS and Health Department, participation in the Complete Count Committee for the upcoming census, and proposals by the Georgia General Assembly to regulate design standards on a statewide level. 

The commission’s first order of business was the approval of November’s financial report which included payables to the General Fund in the amount of $457,459, TSPLOST in the amount of $130,431, SPLOST in the amount of $55,651, and General Fund electronic payments in the amount of $1,554.

In preparation of the next meeting on Dec. 17, where they will vote to fill various board vacancies, the commission discussed the current status of the positions and the need for additional applications. Currently there are five boards that will be replacing or reappointing members and County Manager Adam Mestres said there are multiple positions for which they don’t yet have applications. 

“We want to find good people to serve on these boards,” he said. “A lot of our boards are time intensive and require training, so we ask for volunteers for these boards who are advocates of our community and have the time and energy to be a part of them.” 

Three positions are currently open on the Development Authority, four positions on the Planning Commission, one with the Tax Assessors, and others within the Council on Aging and Advantage Behavioral Health. 

Commissioner Andy Ainslie made the case for younger community members to get involved in these boards. “We’ve got to grow some leadership for the county and some of these boards will provide great introductions into the county,” he said. 

For information on how to apply for these positions, visit morganga.org or contact the County Manager’s office at (706) 342-0725.

Commissioner Ainslie also highlighted the need to procure more volunteers for the Complete Count Committee, designed to reach out to as many citizens as possible in preparation for the 2020 U.S. Census. The goal of the committee is to distribute information and encourage people to participate early and easily in the counting of citizens which will affect Morgan County’s allocated resources from the Federal Government. 

“We are looking for people who have a large reach in the community,” said Chuck Jarrell, director of Planning and Development. “They won’t do any actual counting, but we just need people to get info out there and get as many people notified as possible.” 

Discussion then turned to Resolution 2019-008 which supports Locally Established Building Design Standards over proposed statewide standards that were introduced last year by State Rep. Dan Smith. The proposal was held up in committee last year, but the Georgia General Assembly reconvenes on Jan. 13 and is expected to once again take up the bill. Mestres said he and the commission has talked to state representatives about their concerns with this bill and that Morgan County will likely have the opportunity to testify before the committee as to why local control is better and why the regulation of building standards should be left at a local level. 

In other actions:

• The board approved $55,002 under the general fund to replace the roof at the Morgan County Health Department and DFCS building at 2205 S. Main St. Construction is expected to begin next week.

• The board voted in favor of beginning the process for public abandonment of County Road 235 near Athens Highway and the Appalachee River. The Georgia Department of Transportation requested the abandonment of this unused road to avoid creating a curb cut during the expansion of U.S. 441. Director of Planning and Development Chuck Jarrell said the road has not been maintained during his tenure and is gated by property owners to prevent illegal dumping. 

• The board approved $62,549 from the general fund to replace self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment for rescue workers, firefighters, and others.

• The board voted to approve all nine renewals of alcohol licenses submitted for review.

• The board voted to sign the 5311 Grant application to continue public transit in Morgan County.

• The board voted to renew the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for another four years which allows groups from surrounding counties to assist each other in the event of natural disasters and emergencies.

County Manager Adam Mestres updated the commission on various items including the near completion of the Broughton Road widening project and the upcoming Walton Mill Road Bridge construction, which is slated to begin Dec. 9. He gave an overview on the energy saving measures being taken throughout county buildings including the new dehumidification systems that will soon be installed at the Aquatic Center. He said construction on the ceiling at the courthouse will begin next week and the replacement of the county offices’ roof will begin on Jan. 6. 

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