County Commissioners “knock out” an even dozen


With an agenda addressing 12 consequential issues, the Emanuel County Commissioners dealt with a full slate of concerns this past Monday from road closures to communication towers at their September meeting. Chairman Hugh Foskey welcomed all and opened the meeting by calling on County Attorney Richard McNeely for the invocation and Commissioner Jim Sherrod to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioners Foskey, Oliver, Sherrod and Thompson were present. Commissioner Davis was absent due to medical issues. The Georgia Forestry Commission was first on the agenda to deliver its annual report which indicated a very successful year in control of permitted burnings, wildfire management, firebreak performance, and public participation in sponsored programs. The public is reminded to always get a permit before you burn to reduce the number of wildfires. The minutes of all previous meetings were presented and approved including the regular meeting on August 21, two milage rate hearings on August 28, milage rate hearing on September 5, budget hearing/adoption on September 25, and workshop meeting September 12. On a previous issue regarding the closing of Chandler Road, Commissioners rendered a decision following consideration of information brought forth earlier by parties at a public hearing. A motion by Commissioner Oliver and seconded by Commissioner Thompson to close Chandler Road was passed in a 3-1 vote with Commissioner Sherrod opposed. Under new business, the commission addressed the 2023-2024 County Budget with the first step in resolutions required to affix the new budget. The resolution was unanimously approved. Discussion followed concerning resolutions required for the Budget Amendments if needed. A unanimous vote was again recorded in approval for that resolution. The issue of pay procedure for county employees was discussed by County Administrator Singletary advising of the need for a new standardized criteria index for establishing future compensation scale. A unanimous vote by commissioners cleared the way for adoption of this updated method. Discussion of new radio towers for county communication systems was entertained. Administrator Singletary brought commissioners up to date on the negotiations with Pineland and EMC officials regarding leases on those company towers to reduce cost and the construction of the required towers. Singletary informed the commissioners that an arrangement had been reached with the two companies that would save Emanuel County a significant amount of money resulting in a reduction in project costs even beyond expectations. The vote to accept the new plan and negotiated agreement was unanimous. Next on the agenda was the need to replace equipment required in trash removal. Singletary reported that the replacement of a trash truck is needed to maintain operations of that department. The age and condition of an older truck is creating conditions of backed up trash at sites throughout the county. Motion by Commissioner Thompson and seconded by Commissioner Sherrod to accept the low bid of $324,500 for the new refuse truck was unanimously adopted. Concluding an earlier arrangement with the City of Swainsboro regarding the airport, the commissioners voted unanimously to adopt procedural and financial arrangements to finalize documents of the agreement. Also completing earlier action, commissioners voted to finalize changes to retirement provisions as concerns employees of the recreation department. Commissioner Oliver made the motion to accept that action with a second by Thompson to bring a unanimous vote from the commission. Reports of needed repairs to the County Courthouse were heard by the commission. Certain portions of masonry at various places have exhibited problems requiring replacement or repair. Administrator Singletary advised members that a RFQ (Request for Qualifications) be advertised to assist in this specialized type of work that is required. Commissioner Sherrod made a motion to accept that recommendation. Commissioner Oliver seconded and the vote was unanimous. At the close of the agenda items, Administrator Singletary requested commissioners consider the formal appointment of a County Clerk for Emanuel County. Considering the range of skills and talent necessary to perform the relevant duties, Singletary advised the commission that the similarity of the job requirements was identical to what was now being done by Administrative Assistant Stacy Scarboro. The Commissioners unanimously agreed and Administrative Assistant Stacy Scarboro is now Emanuel County Clerk Stacy Scarboro. At this point, the regular agenda of the meeting had been exhausted, and the commission voted to go into Executive Session. In action following Executive Session, the commission voted to acquire property to be used as temporary offices for administrative purposes of the Board of Commissioners and other county governmental functions during the renovation of the current offices of the Emanuel County Commission . A motion by Commissioner Thompson and seconded by Commissioner Oliver to purchase office property at 247 West Main Street in Swainsboro for $145,000. was approved with Commissioners Oliver, Sherrod, and Thompson in favor and Commissioner Foskey opposed. This completed the business of the meeting and adjournment followed.