Medley gives county road update

Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dennis Medley, who succeeded longtime County Road Superintendent Billy Leverette last year, continues to provide regular updates to county commissioners on road maintenance.

At Tuesday’s county commissioners’ meeting, Medley, who is superintendent of the renamed County Public Works Department, was asked by Commissioner Russell Smith to explain why Medley’s staff was currently working on Hales Landing Road instead of a previously planned widening and resurfacing project on John Sam Road.

Medley said the Public Works Department is sometimes constrained by the availability of asphalt, which is produced locally by Oxford Construction of Albany, which has multiple asphalt production plants in southwest Georgia. Medley explained that when Oxford is working on contracted road projects, the company naturally places a priority on production of the type of asphalt it needs. Because Decatur County uses a different thickness of asphalt than that Oxford uses, that can sometimes make asphalt for local use scarce, he said.

Email newsletter signup

At the present time, Medley was informed by Oxford he had a two-week window before the company began producing its own variety of asphalt for use in resurfacing projects on Georgia 97 North and South as well as U.S. 27.

As a result, the current schedule is for Public Works to finish resurfacing Hales Landing Road this week and begin widening John Sam Road by two feet with the Oxford-preferred asphalt. Then workers will come back at a later date to put down a thicker top coat of asphalt—the one preferred by Medley—as part of a resurfacing and leveling of the road. New piping and ditch improvements will also be done on John Sam Road, he said.

Until the county-preferred asphalt becomes available again, Public Works will continue to work on some high-priority dirt roads, in part using a new road-smoothing technique county officials recently learned more about.

Chicken manure complaint

During the portion of the meeting set aside for commissioners to make comments, Commissioner Butch Mosely said he had received a citizen complaint about 225 tons of chicken manure supposedly being dumped near their residence off Attapulgus-Climax Road.

Although Mosely acknowledged he had only heard one side of the story so far, he said he wondered whether commissioners could amend the county’s nuisance ordinance to require a buffer between agricultural dump sites and residences. The current version of the nuisance ordinance has provisions which exempts agricultural uses from enforcement, according to Lt. Rick Ashley of the Sheriff’s Office, who supervises the county’s code enforcement and animal control functions. Ashley said his office had received the complaint Mosely referred to on Monday and said County Code Enforcement Officer David Ellis would be looking into it.

County Administrator Tom Patton said he would research a possible amendment along the lines Mosely had suggested.

Board appointments

Commissioners held an approximately 10-minute closed session for the purpose of discussing two personnel matters. When the open meeting resumed, Chairman Perry said commissioners had discussed two board appointments. Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Georgia Power employee Joe Truett to the Development Authority to fill the vacancy left by Brian Rivers, a Georgia Power employee who was transferred away from Bainbridge.

In a separate unanimous vote, commissioners voted to submit three nominees for each of two seats on the Hospital Authority whose terms were expiring, according to Perry. Perry said the names would be submitted to the authority, which would pick one nominee to fill the seat. For the seat currently held by Joe Livingston, commissioners nominated Livingston, Tracy Dixon and Jimmy Dixon. For the seat currently held by John Grimsley, commissioners nominated Grimsley, Hal Brannen and Matt Palmer.

Other business

In other business, county commissioners:

Heard from LIFE Director Debbie McIntyre that Decatur County will be among one of the first counties in the state to participate in a pilot program to get former students working on their GEDs—but never completed all the tests—to return to the program in order to obtain their GEDs. McIntyre said Decatur County has approximately 1,000 students who started their GED coursework but never successfully completed it. She also said the no-cost income tax program served 278 individual taxpayers who were assisted by the program, bringing into the county more than $216,000 in tax refunds.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, the renewal of a cooperative agreement between the county and the Georgia Forestry Commission for wildfire protection within the county’s 188,865 acres of forest land. Under an old fee, the county had paid the Forestry Commission four cents per acre, or about $7,700 a year for its services. Under a new fee schedule approved by the Georgia Legislature, the county will now pay 10 cents per acre, or approximately $18,877 per year, for the GFC’s services.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, the purchase of a new radar speed-checking device for use by state troopers from the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt, Ga., post. Patton said the radar system had an estimated cost of $3,200. State troopers who write traffic citations in unincorporated areas of Decatur County transfer the tickets, and thus the accompanying revenue as well, over to the control of county government.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a contract with the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce wherein the county government will pay the Chamber $15,600 per year for economic development services, including sponsorship of bass tournaments and River Town Days.

 Public Works Superintendent Medley said three now-defunct voting precinct buildings are ready to be moved to the Swine Time grounds in Climax. The target moving date is June 15.