County denies variance request

Published 11:11 am Saturday, March 16, 2019

By Ken Gustafson

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday for the monthly work session at the Sumter County Courthouse. Commissioner George Torbert was absent due to illness.
The session began with a public hearing for the board to consider a request for a variance to place a manufactured home (mobile home) in a Lake Single Family Residential District located at 116 Rouse Lane in Cobb. Shane Poppell, who was not present at the work session, made the request for the variance.
Sumter County Code Enforcement Officer Michael Sudduth told the board that the Planning and Zoning Commission heard Poppell’s request for the variance a couple of weeks ago. He directed the board’s attention to the minutes from that Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, which included letters of opposition to the requested variance. “It was the consensus of the Planning and Zoning Commission to deny this request,” Sudduth said. “That’s the way it was left. I haven’t had any more correspondence from Shane or any of the residents down there.” Board Chair Clay Jones asked those assembled at the meeting if anyone in favor of the variance being granted wanted to speak. No one spoke up. He then asked the other commissioners if they had any questions. Commissioner Scott Roberson asked Sudduth if Poppell took out a singlewide. Sudduth replied that Poppell had taken out a singlewide in January 2017. “That’s what he told us at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting,” Sudduth said. Sudduth said no manufactured home could be put there without a variance granted by the board of commissioners. “If you remove a mobile home, you can build a house there without anything, but you can’t put another mobile home there,” Sudduth said. “The only way to do that is to go through the section in the zoning ordinance that covers mobile homes.” County Attorney Kimberly Reid suggested that the board could close the public hearing and vote on the proposed approval. Chairman Jones closed the public hearing. Commissioner Thomas Jordan made a motion to deny the request for the variance and Commissioner Mark Waddell seconded. It passed unanimously.
The board also discussed and voted on a proposed approval of an agreement for GED testing for mobile/addendum sites through Pearson Vue Testing Centers with Sumter County and South Georgia Technical College (SGTC). Attorney Reid told the board that this is an agreement with SGTC for to provide services such as GED studies and testing for the inmates at the Sumter County Correctional Institute. “The Pearson Vue Testing Center would be the ones to grant access to their computer system for the inmates to take the test,” Reid said. “SGTC would be assisting the inmates by administering it.” Reid said the testing would be administered at the correctional institute. County Financial Director Janice Jarvis said that in the past, the board has authorized the purchase of laptops for GED purposes. Jarvis said that at one time, the Department of Corrections was providing funding assistance for the cost of doing GED testing for inmates.
Waddell made a motion for approval, seconded by Jordan. It passed unanimously.
The board also approved a contract between the Sumter County Board of Commissioners and All-American Sports Photography to perform photography services for the Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department (SCPRD). “This is the Request for Proposal (RFP) that we sent out for the provision of youth sports photography for all of our sports programs,” SCPRD Director Tim Estes said. “This sounds like a very menial thing, but this is one of the biggest headaches we deal with.” Estes said when the SCPRD didn’t have a contract with a photography company, people would show up during basketball season taking pictures and charging people for the pictures. “We can’t hold them accountable,” Estes said. “All-American Sports Photography actually held our bid five or six years ago. They did a great job and we didn’t have any problems with them. They had not won that bid for several years and I’m glad to see that they have this time.” Jordan made a motion for approval and Waddell seconded it. It passed unanimously.
Estes told the board that the SCPRD also sent out an RFP for the provision of youth baseball uniforms. “ We had a tremendous response. I think nine companies turned in bids,” Estes said. “The lowest bid we got was from a company out of Houston, Texas, which immediately threw up a red flag for me. They were well below all the other bidders. When I contacted the company, they could not guarantee me delivery by our needed date.” Estes said the lowest local bidder had a price increase on his end and could not honor what he did and three of the bidders didn’t bid on what the SCPRD specified. “It just got mangled, so in that process, what I would like to do is reject all of the RFPs that were submitted,” Estes said. “ The threshold that the total cost will be is under our county policy and I’d like for you to give me permission to get the three quotes from local vendors and we’ll go with the lowest quote there.”
County Administrator Rayetta Volley agreed with Estes and wanted a motion from the BOC to reject all of the bids that were submitted. Roberson made the motion which was seconded by Jordan. It passed unanimously.