Board of Commissioners updates

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Three actions involving the Henry County Transit Department were among the numerous items covered by the Board of Commissioners at its Aug. 2 regular meeting.

The county provides demand response transportation to local clients and has an annual contract with the Georgia Department of Human Services. As of July 1 the DHS implemented a new computer program to manage all DHS requests, and on top of that the overall demand in ridership has increased which causes an increase in telephone reservations.

The county only has one full-time scheduler, so a second position is needed to handle the higher demand and manage the new software, according to officials. The board authorized the creation of a new scheduler position in the transit department and approved a $50,834.13 budget transfer.

It was noted that in the 2017 fiscal year the transit department will be receiving an additional $220,000 in revenue for fee-for-service from the DHS.

The board approved an operating assistance grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation under which the county will be eligible for reimbursement up to $192,067 in operating assistance for the 2017 fiscal year. The appropriate local match is in the county’s regular budget.

Under a separate agenda item, the board approved an FY 2017 GDOT Rural Transportation Program capital assistance for the transit department. The county will receive $153,203.05 in capital assistance for replacement of four existing buses “that have met their useful life,” according to county staff. The county will have to provide a 10-percent local match of $19,153.76 and the state of Georgia will do the same for a grand total of $191,537.56 in capital funds.

In other business, the board approved acceptance of a settlement from Kimley-Horn & Associates for the Fairview Road widening project, which was recently completed. The design was done by Kimley-Horn & Associates, and during construction some errors and/or omissions were found on the design plans, according to county staff. The design firm provided “a full and complete settlement” along with a form for general release of all claims, officials said.

The board approved a new one-year maintenance agreement for its local and wide area network and voice facilitates (phone, voice mail, etc.) in the amount of $125,822.27. Officials said the funds are in the current year budget of the Technology Services Department.

A right-of-way easement agreement was approved between the county and Snapping Shoals EMC for electrical service to the new District 5 park at 750 Fairview Road in Ellenwood. There is no cost to the county under this agreement.

The board approved the transfer of $53,471 from the SPLOST countywide ambulance account to the SPLOST countywide fire stations capital account. The fire department need to purchase three pumper trucks at a total cost of $300,000. The available balance in the capital account before the transfer was $256,496.

The board approved spending up to $123,000 for a master plan for future needs of the county’s court system. The National Center for State Courts, an organization that provides services to court systems throughout the country, has submitted a “project work plan, budget and schedule for facility needs assessment and master plan.” County officials have already determined that the court system has grown to the point that additional space is needed. The amount allocated for the master plan is in the FY 2017 budget.

An agreement was approved with On Point Strategies LLC for lobbying services on behalf of the county. The one-year contract will cost the county $2,000 per month. The arrangement was presented as one that would be advantageous for locating opportunities to receive state and federal funding and services. Various commissioners and some local business leaders commented that the deal was important for Henry County to be represented at the state Capitol and get money that might otherwise go elsewhere in the state.

The BOC passed a resolution allowing $2,970.66 in federal asset forfeiture and seized funds to be used to outfit a county SWAT vehicle. The Henry County Police Department approved last fall the purchase of a 2016 T-350 high roof extended-length cargo van and is now in the process of equipping the vehicle. The department requested the purchase of six super LED surface-mount blue light for $810.66 as well as $200 in supplies for the installation and a $650 spray-on floor liner. Expenditures like this for the police using money seized from criminals are typical and legally appropriate, officials said.

The county will be installing new speed humps on Moye Drive after approval was given by the board. The required number of residents on Moye Drive signed a petition in accordance with the county’s speed hump ordinance, according to a staff report. Locations for each proposed speed hump were identified.