BOC allocates SPLOST funds; approves new hires

By Monro Roark
Times Correspondent

Here is a rundown of some of the action taken at last week’s regular meeting of the Henry County Board of Commissioners.

Unanimous approval was given to allocate $403,584 in SPLOST III funds for pending right-of-way condemnation settlements related to the Fairview Road expansion. Funds were available in the District 3 resurfacing, District 4 resurfacing and unallocated SPLOST III fund accounts.

A resolution was presented by Chairman Tommy Smith to terminate the agreement for legal services with Fincher, Denmark & Minnifield LLC. The firm is tasked with handling some county legal work not undertaken by county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter. Smith and Gary Barham voted for the resolution but all four other commissioners voted against it and the motion failed.

The board voted unanimously to approve using SPLOST IV funds for the installation of nine additional surveillance cameras in the visitation area of the county jail. An agreement was approved in January for Com-Tech to furnish and install surveillance and access control equipment at the jail, and the Sheriff’s Department identified a need for the extra cameras. Com-Tech provided a quote of $15,825 to furnish and install all necessary cabling and equipment for the cameras. Com-Tech has an annual contract for all network cabling for the county and is the sole provider/installer of the OnSSI surveillance camera equipment.

Approval was given for the Henry County Fire Department to hire 20 certified full-time employees at a cost for this year of $998,996.42 to meet staffing needs. The employees were approved during the FY2016 budgeting process.

Also for the Fire Department, a $76,368 bid for fire turnout gear was approved. It will be used to gear new employees and also for replacement of worn-out gear that is no longer wearable.

The Police Department requested and received authorization to buy four 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe pursuit vehicles using $139,368 in seized funds. The vehicles will be assigned to the Traffic Unit of the Uniform Patrol Division. The Tahoe was chosen because the Ford Crown Victoria is no longer in production and the Dodge Charger does not allow for the room needed for traffic investigation equipment. The base price of each vehicle is $33,936. Optional items requested include inoperable inside door handle/window/locks and spot lamps with LED. With additional options the cost is $34,842 per vehicle.

Senior Services received approval to purchase $27,336 in kitchen equipment for the Heritage and Hidden Valley senior centers, and the county’s Recycle Center was authorized to spend up to $10,000 for waste wood grinding and removal services.

A housing rehabilitation specialist position was created for the Community Development Department and the budget was amended to fund it. The full-time position will be responsible for technical field work inspecting and evaluating private dwellings for housing renovations, repairs and improvements in compliance with federal, state and county regulations. It will be paid 100 percent through the Community Development Block Grant and Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants, so it will not impact the general fund. The position will assist in the delivering of CDBG homeowner rehab programs such as the Senior Housing Rehab Program and the rehabilitation of properties acquired for the NSP.