Poole tells commissioners what to expect here Wednesday into Thursday

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

By Ken Gustafson

AMERICUS — Sumter County Emergency Management Director Nigel Poole told the Sumter County Board of Commissioners on Monday at its monthly work session that the Americus and Sumter County are is expected to experience 55 to 60 mph winds and heavy rain on Wednesday as a result of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to hit somewhere along the Gulf Coast.
“The latest is that we are anticipating 55 to 60 mph sustained winds beginning Wednesday evening,” Poole told the Board. “The earliest prediction is Wednesday morning, but the most likely time will be Wednesday evening going into Thursday. We’re looking from anywhere between three to seven inches of rain to be dropped on us. We’re anticipating wide-spread power outages and trees down.”
Poole said he put out a lot of information on the coming storm to contact groups via social media and email. “We’ve already had a meeting to do a weather briefing with 25 to 30 people attending,” Poole said. He said that there has been some discussion on the possibility of Sumter County schools being closed on Wednesday. According to Poole, his department will use the same standard used during Hurricane Irma last year. “With 40 mph winds, we do not send out emergency response vehicles,” Poole said. “We’re looking at sustained winds of 55 mph. My feelings are that if ambulances can’t go out in those conditions, school busses shouldn’t either, but that’s not my decision to make, but I am in good communication with Superintendent [Torrance] Choates and the headmaster of the private school.” Poole told the board that the emergency shelters are to be used for a short period of time. “There’s no reason for people to be out and about in the storm. It’s going to hit us Wednesday and into Thursday,” Poole said. “I’m going to unlock the emergency shelters … they don’t need to be occupied for more than an hour. I don’t want people camping in there. That’s a liability. We don’t need people coming in with their sleeping bags and setting up camp in there. These are emergency shelters. People are safer in their homes.”
In other items, the board voted to approve the awarding of the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Proposal to Lux Mitigation and Planning Corporation in the amount of $29,000.
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Poole told the board that they had a Request for Proposal (RFP) about a month ago. “I received one submission toward this,” Poole said. “It came from Lux Mitigation and their price was $29,000. The out-of-pocket cost to Sumter County for this plan would reach zero dollars. This is part of the mandatory mitigation plan that we have to do every five years. We have a couple of years to do it, which is why we started now.” Poole said that Lux Mitigation and Planning Corporation, out of Shady Dale, has never had a county to have to pay out-of-pocket.
“I will tell you personally. This is the company I wanted to go with,” Poole told the board. Commissioner Thomas Jordan made a motion for approval and Commissioner Mark Waddell seconded the motion. The board passed it unanimously.
The board also discussed the approval of internet upgrades to the Sumter County Courthouse, the Law Enforcement Center and the Correctional Institute, but decided to wait until their monthly meeting to decide whether or not to approve the internet upgrades. That meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Oct. 16.
The BOC discussed whether or not to approve a letter of support for a potential bridge replacement project over Murphy’s Mill Pond. Department of Public Works Director Frank Whitaker told the board that the Georgia Department of Transportation wanted not only a verbal confirmation, but something in writing before they allow this to be a viable project. “They need documentation before we can continue to move forward,” Whitaker said. “All they are asking is to reconfirm in writing what we verbally told them two months ago. They want a letter with the chairman’s signature.”
Commissioner Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner George Torbert seconded the motion. The approval passed unanimously.