Call them Public Works

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What was formerly known as the Decatur County Road Department is now the County Public Works Department, after county commissioners voted unanimously to approve the change at their Tuesday morning meeting.

“They do a lot more than roads,” County Administrator Tom Patton said in his explanation of the change. “They lay water and sewer. They construct and deconstruct. They built the new cells at the landfill.”

Patton said the change was discussed when county commissioners held a workshop on road issues on Sept. 30. While there was some discussion then of how much it might cost to make other changes related to the name change, Patton said he believed the cost would be minimal, if any.

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Most of the vehicles used by employees of what is now the Public Works Department use the official county seal, as seen on the wall behind the dais in the commissioners’ meeting room, according to Patton and Public Works Superintendent Billy Leverette. Only a few older vehicles in use have the words “Road Department” and they would be left as-is until they are replaced by new vehicles, Leverette said.

The words “Road Department” on what is now the Public Works building at 1201 Airport Road in Bainbridge can be repainted using the labor of county prison inmates, Patton said.

The Public Works Department uses standard letterhead bearing the county’s official seal and the Georgia Department of Transportation will be notified of the name change, he said.

New board for Keep Decatur County Beautiful

County commissioners made another step toward creating a new board of directors for Keep Decatur County Beautiful, the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Georgia Beautiful.

Keep Georgia Beautiful is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Protection Division and is concerned with ensuring clean land, water and air for the state’s citizens.

While Decatur County’s government funds the program and employment of an executive director, Suzanne Brandt, KDCB relies on the work of community partners and volunteers to accomplish its goals. KDCB’s old board of directors, which was informal, is being replaced by a new board outlined in new bylaws for the organization approved by county commissioners on Sept. 2.

At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a list of six nominations to the new boards, at the same time agreeing to set the length of each board member’s term at commissioners’ Nov. 24 meeting. The board members will begin serving on Jan. 1, 2010.

County Commissioner Butch Mosely, who was among those nominated to be on the new KDCB board, voted no, after expressing a desire to set the term lengths of each appointee before commissioners voted on them.

Mosely said he was under the impression that county commissioners were each supposed to choose a representative from their district to be on the new KDCB board. However, Brandt read from the recently approved bylaws, which stated the KDCB executive director was to recommend nominations to the board, which can consist of no more than nine members and six non-voting members who would not have term limits.

The Bainbridge City Council is expected to make its three appointments to the KDCB board soon, Brandt said.

The county’s appointments to the board are Bradley Bellville, Steve Golladay, Commissioner Mosely, Roy Oliver, Tim Smith and Frances Willis.

Other business

In other business considered at Tuesday’s meeting, county commissioners:

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a resolution proclaiming Nov. 17 as Retired Educators Day. The resolution “calls upon the citizens of Decatur County to observe this day in an appropriate manner honoring retired educators.”

 Approved, by unanimous vote, the purchase of two new vehicles for the county’s Public Works Department. Commissioners approved two low bids on the vehicles submitted by River Bend Ford of Bainbridge, $14,197 for a regular cab two-wheel drive truck and $23,849 for a four-door, four-wheel drive truck.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a 10-year lease with the SOWEGA Council on Aging for use of the Decatur County Senior Center, located at 402 W. Water St. As they have in the past, commissioners set the annual lease amount at $1. The lease agreement also contains a request form for other community organizations’ usage of the Senior Center after normal operating hours, which are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a contract with Horne Enterprises of Mitchell County, Ga., for updates to the county’s computer-based property tax maps through Dec. 31, 2009. Commissioners had previously tabled renewal of an annual contract with Horne for 2010 due to a desire to have the contract bid on by multiple vendors. Patton said county officials plan to work with the Board of Tax Assessors on development of bid specifications associated with future contracts for GIS services.