Sumter County Board of Commissioners approves policy for courthouse memorials and Ameri Green amendment

Published 6:00 pm Monday, August 22, 2022

AMERICUS – At its monthly regular meeting on Tuesday, August 16, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) continued a discussion on courthouse memorials that it had at its work session two weeks ago. As a result of the discussion last Tuesday, the BOC approved a policy that memorials can be put in the Sumter County Courthouse with the condition that those being memorialized would already be deceased.

During Tuesday’s discussion on the matter, Board Chairman Mark Waddell stated his strong opinion that anyone being memorialized in the courthouse should already be deceased because if a person is memorialized in the courthouse while still alive and goes out and commits a crime, that presents a tremendous dilemma for the BOC as far as the memorial is concerned. “That’s what memorials are,” Waddell said. “It’s in memory of someone. Memorials are for people who are deceased.”

Commissioner Jesse Smith asked about the dimensions of a memorial and if there had to be a minimum of a dimension in order for a memorial to be considered for placement in the courthouse. County Attorney Hayden Hooks replied that there aren’t any minimum dimensions listed, but added that the policy would require those who wished to place a memorial in the courthouse to apply. “Ultimately, it’s the county’s property and the county can decide whether or not they want to have something here,” Hooks said. “This is just a policy to make sure that applications are considered fairly.”

Waddell also stated that he felt that the BOC would need to know the dimensions of the memorial and that those who wished to place a memorial in the courthouse should be the ones responsible for providing the BOC with the dimensions and the architectural design of the memorial. Waddell went on to say that those who want to place a memorial in the courthouse should be responsible for paying for its installment and paying for its insurance. Waddell also made it clear that it is the BOC that decides whether or not a memorial is to be placed inside the courthouse or on the courthouse grounds and where it will go. Commissioner Clay Jones asked Hooks if the policy would include placing a memorial outside on the grounds of the courthouse. Hooks replied that the policy would deal strictly with just placing a memorial or memorials inside the courthouse. Jones asked Hooks if putting a memorial on the grounds could be included in the policy and Hooks replied that it was part of the discussion that was had at the BOC’s work session two weeks ago about extending it to other county buildings, but added that it was best to just start with the courthouse and see how it would go.

At the end of the discussion, Waddell entertained a motion for approval. Commissioner Scott Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Jesse Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

Another item on the BOC’s docket was an amendment to its contract with Ameri Green Environmental Waste Management Service to allow for the collection of brown goods, white goods and bulky waste at the county’s expense. This is something that the BOC has been discussing for at least two months, but finally decided to approve this amendment at its regular meeting. Before it was approved, Attorney Hooks stated that the way the contract is currently written, citizens can call Ameri Green to arrange to have these items picked up at their own expense and there is a price for that set in the contract per cubic yard. “We were proposing that the county take on $5,500.00 and that number comes from whatever the price is over the contract the citizen would pay per cubic yard,” Hooks said. “I don’t remember currently getting the number selected from citizens reported back to the county.”

Hooks went on to tell the BOC that she remembered the Commissioners having a discussion with Ameri Green and that it was recommended that $5,500.00 would be an appropriate amount.

County Administrator Rayetta Volley replied that Ameri Green would not go over that amount and that it would be a good amount each month for the Americus-based company to bill the county so that the county can know what the estimate of its bill would be. Volley went on to say that the company gave the county a separate bill for the brown and white goods. Volley went on to say that back in April, Ameri Green did 58 pickups and it was $6,612.00 and in May, Ameri Green did 44 pickups and it was $5,016.00. “In June, they (Ameri Green) did 44 pickups again for $5,016 and the same thing was in July,” Volley said.

Once the discussion concluded, Waddell asked for a motion to approve the amendment to the Ameri Green contract to allow for the collection of brown goods, white goods and bulky waste at the county’s expense. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and it was 3-1 in favor of approving the amendment. Commissioners Jones, Smith and Roberson voted to approve the amendment, but Commissioner Jim Reid voted against it.

Other approvals that the BOC made at its regular meeting are as follows:

 

  • Approval of the BOC’s premium paid portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the motion for approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval to adopt the resolution for the 2022 Millage Rate. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the motion for approval passed unanimously.