Commissioners hear update from Emanuel County Forestry Department

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The Emanuel county board of commissioners convened for their regular monthly meeting on Monday, September 20, at 6 p.m. at the John C. Coleman Hotel. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jim Sherrod. Commissioner Desse Davis then led the invocation and was followed by Hugh Foskey leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

The meeting opened with a public hearing for action and discussion on the issuance of an alcohol license requested by Druv Patel. The request was unanimously approved following a first motion made by Commissioner Foskey.

Department Update

The board was presented with a department update from Emanuel County Forest Ranger Doug Claxton. He presented the commissioners with an annual Georgia Forestry Report, gave updates to recent changes, and answered any questions. Some of the key points for Emanuel County included:

• 3,223 burn permits issued for approximately 20,000 acres

• Services provided to 35 landowners, totaling to 1,465 acres

• 769 miles and 380 hours spent on fire breaks

• 375 Total calls responded to by the department

• 12 pieces of firefighting equipment utilized by Swainsboro firefighters

• 9 Community outreach programs, with approximately 3,5000 individuals attending

• Equipment Updates

• Update on new burning regulations made this year

• Appreciation for support of Commissioners and local community as well as working relationship with fire departments within the county lines.

Chairman Sherrod spoke on his appreciation for the forestry department, reflecting back to the leadership days of Forest Ranger Donnie Price to current day.

Minutes

• Minutes from Commissioners’ regular meeting held August 16 were then reviewed as well as minutes from a special called meeting held September 8 and a workshop meeting held September 17. The minutes were approved by commissioners with one change requested to be reflected on the September 8 minutes.

In reference to old business

• County Administrator Guy Singletary addressed Commissioners with discussion or action to be held on Hospital Board vacancies. He advised commissioners that suggestions were still needed to be made to the hospital authority on two upcoming vacancies. Current occupant Mitch Hall has requested to be reappointed, leaving one vacant seat left to be filled. Commissioners were advised that three letters of interest from Chandra Hooks, Kyle Canady, and Jamey Palmer. Commissioner Foskey motioned for approval for said names to be submitted. Commissioner Keith Thompson seconded and remaining board members voted accordingly.

In reference to new business

• Discussion was held on a CDBG grant resolution which eventually led to a unanimous approval by all board members. County Administrator Singletary advised board members of potential grant money for certain projects being available as a result of Covid, one being a CDBG grant in the amount of $750,000. He suggested the Emanuel County Behavioral Health Services Center be submitted for consideration for eligible grant funding. In doing so Commissioners had to adopt said resolution to submit the grant request. Making first motion for approval was Commissioner James Canady who backed by a second from Commissioner Davis and all remaining board members voting in favor.

• Board members were then address with the annual budget adoption. They were advised that the budget, if approved, would begin October 2021 and extend through September 2022. Commissioner Davis motioned for approval, Commissioner Foskey seconded and all remaining commissioners voted accordingly.

• the last item under new business was budget amendments made to the FY 2020 Dash 2021 county budget. After further review and discussion, Commissioner Canady motioned for approval of the submitted amendments and was followed by Commissioner Davis seconding this action. All remaining board members voted unanimously in favor.

Public comments.

David Hall addressed board members with concerns on accessing Covid report information for the county as well as a handicap loading zone area being installed for early voting and regular voting of locals with disabilities.

Rita Faulkner also addressed board members, inquiring on plans for utilizing funds received in the American Rescue Plan Act and plans for upcoming road work performed with in Emanuel County.

With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned.

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