Officials seek Georgia satellite stations

Published 7:26 pm Friday, August 12, 2011

Satellite television subscribers in Decatur County could get some help with their channel lineup from County Commissioners, who have petitioned the federal government to allow Georgia stations to be carried locally.

Currently, local satellite subscribers may get networks whose affiliates are based in Tallahassee, Fla., Dothan, Ala., or Panama City, Fla. Cable subscribers can get stations out of Albany, Ga., and Valdosta, Ga., but satellite subscribers cannot, County Administrator Tom Patton said at Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.

According to county officials, who have contacted satellite providers about the issue, Decatur County is considered an “orphan county” regarding satellite TV broadcasts. That’s because it is located on the border between Georgia and Florida and technically considered part of the Tallahassee media market.

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The letter commissioners sent to the FCC asks for the federal agency which regulates radio and television broadcasts to overhaul the old method of segregating media markets for the purpose of determining access to stations.

Patton said the FCC is currently rewriting much of its older regulations and has indicated it is willing to consider comments from the public as it changes the rules to reflect major changes in technology and broadcast options.

Agency to help collect ambulance fees

Commissioners unanimously agreed to enter into an agreement with Collection Bureau Associates of Alabama, Georgia and Florida, to collect delinquent fees owed for usage of the Decatur County Emergency Medical Service ambulances.

As part of the agreement, the credit bureau will get to keep 30 percent collected on any account turned over to the bureau. In the event that collection of any account is resolved in Magistrate Court, the bureau will get to keep 50 percent of the amount collected.

“Do you think they will really get tough [with past due accounts]?” Commissioner Frank Loeffler asked, to which County Administrator Patton said they would.

In response to other concerns, County Attorney Brown Moseley explained the only bills the collection agency would act upon were ones that the county government turned over to them.

“We do have some input before they get involved,” Attorney Moseley said.

During commissioners’ comment period, Commissioner Oliver Sellers said he would like county officials keep working to make the ambulance service a self-sustaining or profitable department.

County to work on bridges

Commissioners unanimously approved a contract agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation to make drainage improvements on 16 bridges within Bainbridge and Decatur County. The bridges to be worked on are as follows: Wautauga Road over Attapulgus Creek, Hutchinson Ferry Road over N. Mosquito Creek tributary, Georgia 97 South over Willacoochee Creek, Georgia 97 South over Willacoochee Creek tributary, Attapulgus Road over Little Attapulgus Creek, New Home Church Road over the Big Slough, Jessie Brock Road over the Big Slough, Carl Brock Road over the Big Slough, Drane Smith Road over Willacoochee Creek, Lake Douglas Road over Attapulgus Creek, Climax-Attapulgus Road over Callahan Branch, College Road over the Big Slough tributary, Mills Road over the Big Slough, Lane Bridge Road over Spring Creek, Broad Street over CSX Railroad and County Road 495 over CSX Railroad.

Other business

In other business, county commissioners:

• Unanimously approved a bid of $13,050 from Sherwin Williams of Bainbridge for 750 gallons of paint to be used for improvements at the Decatur County Jail.

• Unanimously approved the transfer of 2.75 acres of property in Commodore Decatur Industrial Park off Dothan Road to the Development Authority, which in turn, will sell it to R Squared Solutions, a locally-owned manufacturing business which creates attachments for logging trucks and equipment.

• Held an approximately hour-long closed session to discuss a real estate acquisition and a litigation matter. When the open meeting resumed, Board of Commissioners Chairman Butch Mosely said no action would be taken.