County firefighters show appreciation for board
By MICHAEL MURRAY
AMERICUS — The Sumter County Board of Commissioners held its monthly work session on Dec. 8, followed by the regular meeting on Dec. 15 at the Sumter County Courthouse.
Over 20 Sumter County firefighters filed into the Courthouse on the evening of the regular meeting to show their appreciation to the board for all that they have done for Sumter County Fire and Rescue (SCFR).
SCFR Chief John Ekaitis addressed the board, saying, “What we wanted to do is come together and say thank you to the Board of Commissioners and the others that are sitting at this table for everything that you have done over the last two and a half years … With your support and with the Finance director, [Janis Jarvis], Mr. Bill Twomey (County administrator), Rayetta Floyd (County clerk) and Mrs. Kimberly Reid (County attorney) … for everything that you’ve done, especially your support of the Fire Department and your commitment on our apparatus-replacement program.”
Ekaitis went on to express his appreciation for the department’s paid and volunteer staff and stated, “Without these guys … it wouldn’t have been possible … I am very proud of them … On behalf of Sumter County Fire and Rescue, we’d like to present a plaque to you.”
Ekaitis handed Board Chairman, Randy Howard, the plaque and added, “Our slogan on the side of each of our fire engines is, ‘Everyone Goes Home.’ You gave us the equipment to do that … ”
Howard thanked Ekaitis on behalf of the board, and Commissioner Mark Waddell, added, “We did the easy part. We just said, ‘Yes.’ Y’all did all of the hard work,” referring to the firefighters’ dedication to keeping the citizens of Sumter County safe.
Near the conclusion of the regular meeting, County administrator, Bill Twomey, advised the board that there are several structures in a state of disrepair near the County Correctional Institute. The structures include an old chapel that was part of the former correctional institute facility and is no longer in use.
“There is no reason to put any money into these buildings,” Twomey said.
Public Works director, Frank Whitaker, advised Twomey that he has been contacted by a filmmaker who is interested in filming a portion of a documentary about Martin Luther King Jr. and Koinonia founder, Clarence Jordan. Whitaker said that the filmmaker has expressed an interest in using some of the old structures of the former correctional institute as a set and had offered to pay for repairs to some of the structures.
“There are several issues that need to be worked out before we can move forward with that,” Twomey said. He said he would attempt to contact the filmmaker.
Howard expressed concerns that the buildings could include hazardous materials such as lead paint or asbestos.
During the work session, the board discussed the following issues.
• A request from Walter R. Short on behalf of Lawrence Short Sr. to divide family property located at 631 Salters Mill Road for his children.
• A request from Alex Hicks on behalf of Wiley R. Booker III and Martha G. Glasscock to change the zoning of a parcel of property located at 985 U.S. Highway 19 South from residential to commercial. Booker stated that he would like to open a barbecue restaurant on the property. The request was approved at the regular meeting.
• Barbara Grogan, executive director, Americus-Sumter County Payroll Development Authority (PDA), addressed the board stating that the PDA needs storage space for furniture and miscellaneous items. The request was approved with the condition that the County will have sole discretion in determining the volume that can be accepted for storage.
• Alcoholic beverage licenses were renewed for the Brickyard Plantation on U.S. Highway 280 East, Americus; Sam’s Country Store on Jenkins Road, Americus; Spring Creek Marina on Cantey Drive, Cobb; Astro’s on Sunset Park Drive, Americus; Samarapan Corporation on U.S. Highway 280 East, Americus; Fatboys, on U.S. Highway 280 East, Cobb; Lakeshore Marina on U.S. Highway 280 East, Cobb; Plains MTO on Ga. Highway 45 North, Plains, and American Legion Post 558 on Ga. Highway 30 West, Americus. An alcoholic beverage license for Americus Food Mart on U.S. Highway 280 West, Americus was approved at the regular meeting.
• The board approved changes to the County’s motor vehicle operation policy.
• The board discussed a budget amendment to move funds from one line to another in order to cover costs for Internet services at the armory facility. The amendment was approved at the regular meeting.
• An agreement between Sumter County Youth Development Campus and the County’s Emergency Management Agency was approved; it has been revised to benefit both parties.
• The board heard from Superior Court Judge James Sizemore, who discussed an Accountability Court Grant Application for funding of a position of Felony Drug Court coordinator. The commission was informed that the grant, in the amount of $80,000 will not require any funding from the County. At the regular meeting, the board agreed to table the discussion until the January meeting.
• The board discussed a new ordinance governing county-issued credit card usage. At the regular meeting, the board approved the ordinance, which stipulates that purchases made on county-issued credit cards can not exceed $750 per individual purchase or $3,000 per month. The ordinance was approved at the regular meeting.
• A proposed GDOT Federal Aviation Administration Fuel Tax Revenue Compliance Plan was approved.
• The board approved a request from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office to declare two Crown Victorias as surplus.
• Director of Public Works, Frank Whitaker, asked the board to approve an amendment that would designate subdivisions as residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Changes were also made to the required cul-de-sac sac radius, pavement width, and right-of-way width on new streets. The amendment was approved at the regular meeting.
• The board discussed the proposed referendum to allow Sunday alcohol sales in Sumter County. Approval of the referendum was finalized at the regular meeting.
• The board reappointed Bill Harris Sr. to the PDA.
• The board reappointed Channon Thurmon, Gene Malcolm, Gary Houston and Steve Broadhurst to Planning and Zoning.
• The board reappointed Jackie Bryce to the Schley-Sumter-Macon Joint Development Authority.
• The board recognized that Thomas Sims’ term limits have been served on the Sumter County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. Applications are currently being accepted to fill the vacancy.
• June Ewing and Mike Tracy were reappointed to the Sumter County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
• The board recognized that David Jennings has stated that he would like to be reappointed to the Sumter County Board of Tax Assessors. The County will be accepting applications to fill the position until Jan. 7.
• County attorney, Kimberly Reid, discussed changes to the Land Bank Authority (LBA) intergovernmental agreement between the County and the City of Americus that determines what will happen if the LBA is dissolved. The agreement will be revisited by the board for their approval at a later date.