Church’s road questioned

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

County Treasurer Claude Shirley is questioning the legality of work he says the county’s Public Works Department performed at a private church.

Shirley provided The Post-Searchlight with a letter he sent to County Board of Commissioners Chairman Earl Perry regarding road work at 361 Swanwall Road, the location of Swanswall Missionary Baptist Church in northwest Decatur County.

Shirley also provided The Post-Searchlight with pictures that appear to show a gravel road that according to him, was created by county employees on private property.

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In the letter, Shirley asks Perry to look into the matter and take appropriate actions against anyone involved in any wrongdoing or illegal activity.

Shirley said he asked County Attorney Brown Moseley to determine whether the church’s property was considered private property, and was told that it was.

According to tax records, the church is a one-story concrete block building located on a four-acre property. The property’s 2009 tax year value is $127,200.

Commissioner Perry said Tuesday that he had no comment at the present time.

Commissioner Gary Phillips, who represents the district the church is located in, said he was aware of the issue but would not comment on it specifically until a later time. He said commissioners may address the issue at a future board meeting.

“Appearance is not always what it seems,” Phillips said.

In the past, the County Public Works Department has performed minor work for local governments. It paved a parking lot for the City of Attapulgus and has also lent heavy equipment to the City of Bainbridge’s Public Works Department.