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County to extend River Oaks Drive

Commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with International Paper Company to extend the southern terminus of River Oaks Drive to Hales Landing Road using property the company deeded to the county.

However, according to the memo, the 4,100-foot extension would not be available for public use; rather, it would serve as an emergency access road to be used by county employees.

The memo states the county “agrees to clear, grade, base and grass said roadway and to construct a new unpaved gravel road, suitable for vehicle traffic. [The county] agrees to install a locked gate at each end of said roadway, and to limit all access to said roadway as agreed upon by the parties of this agreement.”

County Administrator Tom Patton said the extension could serve as an access road when the county begins extending water lines to Hales Landing Road, a project he said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indicated it will pay for.

New vehicles purchased

Commissioners bought three new vehicles for county departments at their Tuesday meeting. They approved, by unanimous vote, a low bid of $14,997 from River Bend Ford for a regular cab, two-wheel drive pickup truck to be used at the Decatur County Industrial Air Park.

They approved, by unanimous vote, a bid of $21,598 from River Bend Ford for a 2010 Ford E-350 XL 15-passenger van to be used by the Decatur County Prison for transporting inmates. Commissioners passed over the low bid of $21,259.35 submitted by Allan Vigil Ford of Morrow, Ga., at the recommendation of County Finance Director Carl Rowland, who said a $150 delivery fee, which would be charged by Allan Vigil Ford, would make the difference between the two bids only $189.

They approved, by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Butch Mosely voting no, a bid of $20,782 from Allan Vigil Ford for a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria with police interceptor package. The vehicle will be used by Prison Warden Elijah McCoy, who will pass his current vehicle down to the deputy warden, with the deputy warden’s vehicle replacing an aging transport vehicle.

Mosely had indicated he would have preferred to purchase a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria from River Bend Ford for $21,499. Rowland explained that River Bend Ford would have to order the vehicle, as the 2010 model has not been released yet, while Allan Vigil had its 2009 vehicle in stock.

Ford no longer sells its Crown Victoria model to the public; but does continue to offer it through its fleet customer program.

Other business

In addition to approving a resolution to begin training county prison inmates to assist county firefighters, as detailed elsewhere in this issue, commissioners also conducted the following other business:

 Tabled, by acclamation, a proposed ordinance setting speed limits on roads in unincorporated Decatur County. Commissioners Earl Perry, Charles Stafford and Mosely brought up concerns about speed limits being set in an arbitrary manner, in their view. Patton agreed to check with DOT officials about what criteria had been used to set the limits, but cautioned that Decatur County could face problems if it refused to approve the state mandated ordinance.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the resurfacing and widening of John Sam Road. Located just west of Bainbridge city limits, John Sam Road connects Dothan Road with Spring Creek Road before terminating at Ten Mile Still Road, which in turn leads down to the Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area. Under the terms of the contract, the state government will pay for the $275,784.07 cost to improve the road, with the county’s Public Works Department providing the labor and equipment;

 Held an approximately 15-minute long closed session to discuss personnel matters. When the open meeting resumed, Chairman Rich said the board had discussed two board appointments. In separate, unanimous votes, commissioners appointed Ray Brock to the Board of Tax Assessors and reappointed Laura Winburn to the county’s Department of Family and Children Services board of directors;

 Heard from Van Smith, who made an annual presentation on the work of the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Decatur County Unit, as covered in the Wednesday, Nov. 25 issue.