RUNDOWN: Screven Board of Commissioners – 07-13-21

The Screven County Board of Commissioners convened for their regularly scheduled commission meeting on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. The following items were discussed and/or voted upon.

Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance

Agenda Approval
Approval of Past Meeting Minutes
For the workshop on June 3, regular Commission meeting on June 8, and two special-called meetings for the adoption of the FY 2022 budget on June 17 and June 24. 
A motion was made by Commissioner Romeo, seconded by Commissioner Lovett and all minutes were approved 6-0.

Public Comment
At the request of the public at the last regular Commission meeting meeting, a public comment line item has been placed at the beginning of the agenda so citizens have the chance to make themselves heard prior to the commissioner’s voting on any matter on the agenda. 
There was no public comment. 

Pastor Joann Odum requested to be placed on the agenda to discuss the condition of Hall Road.

New Business

Appointment of DHR/MHDDAD Board member to fill the unexpired term left vacant when Brett Dickerson resigned from the Sheriff’s Office. A request was made to appoint Tanya Barker because she was already familiar with the Board and duties.
A motion was made by Commissioner Warren, seconded by Triplett, and was approved 6-0.

Resolution – Consideration to approve and adopt a resolution of intent to abandon a public road (Farm Road from Ski Pond Road until it dead ends)
County Attorney Hubert Reeves told commissioners that the resolution was merely the first step in the process requested by Teresa Thompson who appeared before commissioners in May to request that her dirt road be closed. Thompson, in May, said that the portion of the road is a dead end road and that she owns property at both ends. She appeared again in June to make the request for closure, at which time she was told a resolution of intent would be drafted, an ad would be run in the paper, and a public hearing would be held to allow any dissenters to make their opposition known. 

Thompson appeared for a third time Tuesday to express her frustrations with the delayed process and how the county is handling it. Thompson, who is also in a dispute with a new neighbor, said she previously granted access to the neighbor for the neighbor to cross over her property to get to their own. (The neighbor has road frontage from Ski Pond Road and Hwy 24, but no driveway at the current time). Thompson later revoked the permission for access across her property, which escalated a civil matter between the two.

Thompson, in June, invited Commissioners to visit her property to see the land lines, which Commissioner Allison Willis did as did Sheriff Mike Kile in the course of attempting to help resolve some aspects of the dispute. 

Farm Road was a private road for many years until roughly 2006 when a renter at the end of the road needed medical care and Thompson asked the county to open it so EMS could travel down the private drive to access the rental. That process is not a usual one for county governments, but regardless, places the county in the position to treat the road like a county road until it is removed from the county-maintained digest as one.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Thompson alleged that county employees told the neighbor to go ahead and install a driveway across her property to access Farm Road, an allegation county employees refuted. County Attorney Hubert Reeves said ‘it’s got nothing to do with what we’re dealing with’ when Chairman Boyd tried to clarify to Thompson that despite her owning land on both sides of the road, the county had to go through a formal process to consider abandoning it. Thompson told Reeves that if it was not up for consideration, the county owed her back taxes because she’s been paying taxes on the road since 2007. She said the county should also have a piece of paper showing the road was signed over to the county, to which Reeves responded “No. No. They don’t.”

Interim County Manager Lori Burke said county employees were not instructed to erect a driveway across Thompson’s property, but to instead look at the property to see where one could be placed – including on Hwy 24 and Ski Pond Road. 

The resolution considered Tuesday only means commissioners will advertise and consider closure. 

A motion was made by Willis, seconded by Dixon, and approved 4-2 with Commissioners Warren and Triplett opposing. A notice will be run in the newspaper and a public hearing will be held at the August meeting.

A video clip of this agenda item is available below:

Prison Agreement – Consideration to renew agreement with State Department of Corrections for housing up to 148 state inmates
This is the standard agreement with the state renewed by the county each year. There were no changes from prior year contracts. 
A motion was made by Warren, seconded by Triplett, and was approved 6-0.

AllGreen Services Agreement – Consideration to approve amendment to AllGreen Solid Waste Collections and Transportation Agreement

This item is covered in its own article which can be found here.

Rabble & Refuse Spoil Conversation Over Solid Waste Contract for Screven County

Bid Award – Consideration to award bid for 2021 LMIG Road Projects
The road projects for this bid were approved during the June meeting.
A motion was made by Dixon to go with LittleField Construction as the low bidder in the amount of $289,766.40, seconded by Warren and the motion passed 5-1 with Commissioner Willis opposing. Willis said briefly she voted NO because she didn’t have the two bids to compare scope of work and materials (since the bids were opened during the meeting).

Bid Award – Consideration to Award Bid for 2021 LMIG SAP Projects
This bid is for safety projects like striping and rumble strips.This is part of a grant program that recently became available based on a GDOT list of ‘concerning areas in the county.’ The county road department then narrows the list and prioritizes based on the most pressing needs. The grant amount is $75,000 with a 30% match required by the county, which will be paid for by SPLOST funds already allocated for LMIG projects.

The low bid was for MidState Striping in the amount of $61,500. 
A motion was made by Warren, seconded by Triplett, and passed 6-0.

Public Comment
When Chairman Boyd asked if there were any individuals who wished to address the Board, Commissioner Warren said ‘No, they already had a chance.’
There was no public comment.

Commission/Staff Comments
Commissioner Triplett congratulated Hubert Reeves on his recent retirement as the State Court Judge in Jenkins County and also said that following the arrest of the door-to-door salesman two weeks ago, the county was going to revisit ordinances to see if they could do a little more to protect the citizens.

Executive Session
County Attorney Hubert Reeves indicated that there was no update on the pending litigation (no specifics referenced in accordance with state law) and that there was no need for Executive Session.

Adjournment – 10:06 a.m.

The full video of the Commission meeting is below.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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