Sumter OKs 2020 SPLOST projects list

Published 1:25 pm Saturday, April 20, 2019

By Ken Gustafson

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) unanimously approved the 2020 SPLOST projects for the county and its municipalities at its April meeting on Tuesday at the Sumter County Courthouse.
Commissioner Mark Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner Scott Roberson seconded it. The board approved it unanimously.
County Financial Director Janice Jarvis told the BOC that April 15 was the deadline or target date to have everything approved. Jarvis also stated that the city of Americus accepted the proposal that they would get 41.96 percent of the SPLOST money. Under this proposal, Sumter County would take a $528,900 decrease in SPLOST revenues. The percentage amount for the cities of Plains, DeSoto, Leslie, and Andersonville would increase. The total projected amount of SPLOST revenues for the county and its municipalities is anticipated at $21.5 million. “Americus’s project list is included, along with a letter from them stating that they accept that percentage,” Jarvis said. “I believe that we now have all of the projects from all of the municipalities.”
County Clerk Rayetta Volley stated that the city of Andersonville was expected to update their SPLOST project list on Wednesday, and that the city of DeSoto had already updated its SPLOST project list.
The BOC also approved a motion to have a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. May 14 to interview three applicants to fill the vacant seat on the Sumter County Board of Elections & Voter Registration. That seat was made vacant when Crystal Cleveland resigned as of Feb. 15. Commissioner George Torbert made a motion for approval and Commissioner Thomas Jordan seconded it. It passed unanimously.
Volley told the BOC that there is still an open position on the Sumter County Planning and Zoning Commission to succeed Wade Bartlett, whose term expired on Dec. 31, 2018. Volley also stated that Deborah W. Jones and Ginger Starlin both want to be reappointed to serve on the Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority.
The BOC approved a resolution to change a defined benefits agreement for county employees. Sumter County Human Resources Director Susan Merritt asked the BOC if they wanted to move forward to change the defined benefits agreement so that county employees can start drawing from their pensions while they are still employed by the county. Under the previous defined benefits agreement, county employees were not allowed to draw from their pensions while still working for the county. Commissioner Roberson said that he was fine with the change in the agreement because it wouldn’t hurt the county financially. At the BOC’s work session on April 9, Merritt discussed this resolution that was sent to the BOC from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) with the suggested change in the benefits agreement from the way it is currently set up. The change in the agreement would make it possible for a citizen who continued as a county employee after normal retirement age to choose to receive his or her accrued benefits instead of having to wait until he or she has been terminated or resigned from the county. Board Chairman Clay Jones asked for a motion to approve the resolution to change the benefits agreement. Commissioner Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner Roberson seconded it. It passed unanimously.
Near the end of the meeting, Jarvis said that LeAnna Wilder, DVM, CEO of the Sumter County Stockyard LLC, has been making payments to the county on past due amounts. However, she also stated that she would like for Wilder to make more progress in paying off those past due amounts. Jarvis said she would like to send Wilder a letter encouraging her to speed up the process in getting those debts paid off.
Both Volley and County Attorney Kimberly Reid requested that the BOC go into closed session so they could discuss personnel and litigation issues. The chairman asked for a motion which was made by Torbert and seconded by Roberson seconded, and passed unanimously.