Sumter County BOC approves list of roads selected for radar detectors by Sumter County Sheriff’s Office

Published 4:41 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

AMERICUS – At its September Work Session held on Tuesday, September 12, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted unanimously to approve a list of roads submitted by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO). These roads throughout the county have been selected by the SCSO for the placement of radar detectors to deter speeding.

Sumter County Sheriff Eric Bryant told the BOC that the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) annually produces a list of county and state routes within the county where radar detectors may be used by sheriffs and state patrols. “This year, when we signed and approved this list a couple of months back, they (GDOT) had to come back and make a change because of the additional drive way out at the new high school,” Bryant said. “And the school zone speed limit is measured based upon the distance from each and every exit or entrance out of the school zone.” Bryant went on to say that this last amendment was GDOT changing the school zone speed based upon the last entrance back near the railroad tracks near the new high school. Bryant added that the SCSO highly anticipates that to be the entrance to the new football stadium once it is completed.

Bryant also noted that at last month’s work session, Commissioner Jim Reid had a question about the speeds that are listed on the roads and added that the speed limits on the state routes are regulated by GDOT, but with county-owned roads, the county has discretion with the speed limits on those routes. “If there are any county roads that we want to see modified, we can definitely make that recommendation to the DOT and they will send an engineer out,” Bryant said. “Tonight, we are requesting that we get that document signed again based upon that modification that is within the school zone and the bypass so that we can turn this back into the Department of Transportation.”

Bryant went on to say that infrastructure work has already started with the school zone cameras and one of those areas is on GA Highway 27.

Commissioner Reid remarked that on some of the county roads, the speed limit is 50 MPH instead of 55 MPH. “I’ve traveled these roads and I can’t imagine for the life of me why there is a five mile difference other than using that as a speed trap,” Reid said. “ Bryant replied that those roads that are listed as having 50 MPH could be a typo error that should have been caught, but added that the SCSO will address those. He also said that normally, all of the county roads are 55 MPH unless it’s in a residential area. Reid asked Bryant about the speed limit on US Hwy 19 North and Bryant replied that the county has no control over that because that is under the jurisdiction of GDOT. Reid was referring to a speed trap on US Highway 19 North at the north end of the county. Bryant also told Reid that in that area of the highway, the speed limit was actually dropped by five miles. “They came in and did that and they sent us the notice that this is what it’s going to be really without much justification because I don’t quite understand why they changed it,” Bryant said. “I can definitely inquire because again, they didn’t give us an explanation as to why they changed that. It was suspicious. I don’t know of anything different out there that would necessitate the changes, but I will inquire about that one because it did drop several times in that area,” Bryant told Reid.

Board Chairman Mark Waddell asked for a motion to approve the document containing the list of roads in the county along which radar detectors will be placed to deter speeding. Commissioner Scott Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Jesse Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the motion for approval passed unanimously.

In other news from the work session, the BOC unanimously voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sumter County and the Georgia Southwestern State University System of Georgia. Sheriff Bryant stated to the BOC that this is a standard MOU that the Georgia University System and the Georgia Technical College System does with law enforcement agencies within the jurisdiction of those institutions, meaning that in an event that something happens, those law enforcement agencies will respond with assistance. Bryant went on to say that one would think this should be automatic, but the State of Georgia wants it to be put in writing. “We did one a couple of months back with the technical college and the university system is just getting that document in hand,” Bryant told the BOC. “It probably has something to do with liability, I’m sure, but it is a standard document that we have always signed with both of those institutions.”

Waddell asked for a motion to approve the MOU. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

Sheriff Bryant also took the time to thank the BOC for approving the Premium Paid Package for the SCSO and that his employees are graciously looking forward to it come November. He also wanted to let the BOC know that the SCSO will be scheduling an active shooter drill at South Georgia Technical College this month and will send out correspondences about it so that the public will be made aware and not be alarmed.

Bryant further added that infrastructure has started for the traffic camera system within the county’s school zones. “That is a slow process, but it is in motion,” Bryant told the BOC. “So if you see that construction going on in those areas in the school zones, that’s what that is.”

Bryant also mentioned that the SCSO has some some surplus vehicles that were put in surplus a couple of months ago, but were not sold. Bryant made a request to the BOC that it allow those vehicles that have already been advertised on govdeals.com and were not sold to be disposed of due to the fact that critters and insects have sought shelter within those vehicles. It was decided by the BOC that it would take a vote on this issue at its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 20.

Bryant continued his report by stating that on Thursday, September 22, State Representative Mike Cheokas has been chosen to chair the Public Safety Salary Committee for the State of Georgia and that Governor Brian Kemp and the State Legislation are both trying to identify funds that they can send to counties to help supplament the cost of public safety officials. “However, the biggest struggle is how do you decide what to send to MetroShare versus the Rural Georgia Share,” Bryant told the BOC. “However, I feel like us having our own state representative to chair that committee, maybe we can be instrumental in hopefully getting things moving with that. I can tell you this has been a two, three-year, maybe even four-year discussion, but hopefully, being that we’re here upon election season, it may speed things up and I wanted to bring it to your attention,” Bryant continued.

There were other issues brought up at the work session that the BOC voted to unanimously approve. They are as follows:

 

  • Approval to apply for the Improving Neighborhood Outcomes in Disproportionally Impacted Communities Grant. This will allow Sumter County Parks and Recreation Director Tim Estes to apply for funds for playground equipment and for “passive parks” (non-athletic parks). Commissioner Jesse Smith made a motion to approve and Commissioner Clay Jones seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval to award Concrete Enterprises, Inc. out of Albany the bid to demolish the Old Sumter Human Society Building at a cost of $20,238.00 with the funds to come out of the 2021 SPLOST. Commissioner Scott Roberson made a motion of approval and Commissioner Jesse Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval of the Audit Engagement Letter between the Sumter County Board of Commissioners and the Mauldin and Jenkins Auditing Firm. Commissioner Smith made a motion for approval and Commissioner Jones seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval of the ratification of the letter of support for the Lake Blackshear Area Water System. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval to sole source for the parks and recreation for R&S Sports, Inc. for medium-sized helmets in the amount of $2,599.00. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval to sole source for the parks and recreation for R&S Sports, Inc. for small-sized helmets in the amount of $2,599.00. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval to award the bid to Bennett Fire Protection Products to purchase 10 new sets of protective turnout gear in the amount of $32,112.00 for Sumter County Fire and Rescue. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval of the adoption of a resolution declaring the intention of the Sumter County BOC to lease property to the Georgia Department of Public Safety for a communications tower. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

 

  • Approval to declare vehicle surplus from the Building and Grounds Department and for the vehicle to be placed on www.govdeals.com. This vehicle is a 2007 Ford F-150 and has a total of 187,237 miles on it. The vehicle Number is 110-1565 and the VIN Number is 1FTRF12W67KD522298. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.