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Sumter County Board of Commissioners approves lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management

AMERICUS – At its monthly regular meeting on Tuesday, July 21, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) approved a lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management (EFL) and Sumter County. The meeting was conducted via Zoom conference call due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agreement is contingent upon legal review by County Attorney Kimberly Reid. County General Operations Manager Rayetta Volley said that EFL sent over some amendments for the changes that the BOC had requested, but also stated that Reid had not had a chance to read over those amendments. However, Volley asked the BOC if it could go ahead and approve the agreement along with the amendments as long as it’s contingent upon legal review by Attorney Reid.

This lease agreement has been an on-going discussion between the BOC and ELF for at least a month. The agreement will allow the county to receive from EFL a fleet of state-of-the-art automobiles for the Sumter County Sherriff’s Office, as well as for other county business.

Volley went on to say that Col. Eric Bryant is having issues with several of his automobiles and doesn’t want to put in more money into repairing those vehicles. Col. Bryant, who was in the Zoom meeting, stated that one of the things that EFL is challenged with is trying to find the vehicles that he and his department are looking for. “I would recommend that we go ahead with the contract so that it would allow Damon Martin (the EFL representative) to get on his internet and find me some vehicles because what’s happening is these repairs are getting costly and I would much rather put that money towards our lease payments versus continuing to put it into these repairs of these older vehicles,” said Col. Bryant. Bryant later told the Americus Times-Recorder that the county has budgeted $180,000 from the SPLOST funds for the purchases of these newer vehicles.

Attorney Reid told the BOC that the schedule for these vehicles is critical because the agreement does not lock the county in for a certain price for any vehicle or maintenance. “It basically sort of governs the process,” Reid told the BOC. “Each time you order a vehicle, you’ll get a separate schedule and Mrs. Volley would look to see what the payments would be, not just for use of the vehicle, but also for the maintenance plan.” Reid went on to say that anytime a vehicle is ordered under the contract, the schedule will need to have careful scrutiny to make sure that the terms are suitable for the budget. Reid stated that there is an agreement that deals with the fee to use the vehicles and there is a separate agreement that deals with the monthly repair and maintenance.

“For any vehicles that are not used for emergency response, those are eligible for the flat fee on a monthly basis,” said Reid. “If it’s a vehicle that is used for emergency responses, they do not offer the flat fee or inclusion repair plan for those.”

Commissioner George Torbert commented that there is nothing in the agreement that says that the county can’t buy a vehicle from another source. Reid agreed and stated that this is not an exclusive agreement and that the county is not bound in advance to accept any schedule.

After further discussion, Commissioner Mark Waddell made a motion to approve the lease agreement with EFL contingent upon review by Attorney Reid. Commissioner Torbert seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

Another Public Hearing took place at the meeting regarding the request for an alcoholic beverage license for Huma Enterprise, LLC d/b/a N & K Food Mart, which is located at 114 Georgia Highway 45 North in Plains. At the BOC’s Work Session a week ago, a Public Hearing was held to discuss the issue. During that Public Hearing, Sumter County Fire and Rescue (SCFR) Chief Jerry Harmon said that as far his department was concerned, the establishment was not eligible for the license because it had not met certain requirements and that violations had been committed.

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, Volley told Chief Harmon that the BOC wanted to know what those violations were and if they had been corrected. Harmon replied that there was a plastic covering missing on one of the panel boxes and that there is a problem with the release valve in the water heater of the facility. Harmon also told the Americus Times-Recorder that the establishment had also committed a state violation in not having fixed a problem with its drainage system. Harmon went on to say that both state officials and officials from the SCFR will make an inspection in 72 hours to see if the establishment has made the necessary corrections.

BOC Chairman Clay Jones stated that the BOC will go ahead and recommend the approval of the alcoholic beverage license contingent on the establishment making the necessary corrections. During the Public Hearing, no one spoke for or against the establishment being issued the license. Commissioner Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner Roberson seconded the motion. A vote was taken and the approval passed unanimously.

The BOC also discussed Georgia’s Second Amendment Sanctuary. According to the website, www.gon.com, at least 11 Georgia counties have taken a public stance in support of a Second Amendment Sanctuary in defiance of gun control efforts and this movement is gaining steam across the country. According to information on the Wikipedia website, the Second Amendment Sanctuary, also know as Gun Sanctuary, refers to states, counties or localities throughout the United States that have adopted laws or resolutions to prohibit or stop the enforcement of certain gun control measures perceived as being in violation of the Second Amendment.

Volley told the BOC that both Schley and Habersham Counties have approved a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution.

Commissioner Waddell told the BOC that he doesn’t have a problem approving it for Sumter County, but he added that if the state or federal government comes in to enforce something, they can and they will. However, being that the federal and state governments haven’t come out with any directives, Waddell felt that approving a resolution was unnecessary at this time. Col. Bryant stated that he doesn’t perceive this being a problem from the federal or state level. “I think if they did act or send out a directive, I think we would have time to come back and address this sanctuary city statute,” said Bryant. “I concur with him (Commissioner Waddell). Being that neither the federal or state has sent out any mandates or indicated that anything is coming out, I don’t see us having to do that at this time.”

Commissioner Torbert added that he didn’t like how the idea was presented to the BOC and that the resolution didn’t have the “teeth” behind it. In spite of that, Torbert stated that he didn’t have a problem approving it.

Volley stated that she will provide the BOC with some samples of the resolution for next month’s Work Session.