The Bryan County Emergency Services department has recently received a grant for $620,000, according to Emergency Service Director Jim Anderson. The grant is for a Mobile Command Vehicle and requires no matching contribution of money from the county. Anderson gave an overview of the vehicle during the County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"We’ll be able to set it up as a 911 center, should our 911 center ever go down," Anderson said. While the contract is still in the works, the county should expect to receive the vehicle before Christmas. It is currently being built now and has everything the county needs in it, Anderson said. If the vehicle is ever required in an emergency situation outside the county, the vehicle does specifically belong to Bryan County and a county employee would always be deployed with it, Anderson explained.
"If there were multiple incidents on the coastal region, and Bryan County had one, then it would not be transported, it would stay here. But for example, if Glenn County got hit and was in need of a mobile command vehicle, then we would send it out with someone from here," County Administrator Phil Jones added.
The commission commended Anderson for his work in achieving the vehicle, and agreed it was time for the county to be recognized for grant assistance on important services like emergency protection.
"In the five years that I’m aware of, Bryan County has been a little on the sparse side, to say the least, when it comes to grants," Commissioner Rick Gardner said. "The level of effort that Jim had to put into this is no small amount. It’s not just the grant that he was able to put in, but also the trips to Atlanta and working with GEMA to help them understand how Bryan County factors into the other (surrounding counties) when it comes to emergency management."
Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed wanted to know whether there would be a groundbreaking when the Mobile Command Vehicle arrives in the county and Jones said there will definitely be an opportunity for the community to come out and see it.
In other business:
- Terra Pointe’s proposed 3,300 acre Planned Unit Development at Bellfast Siding Road and I-95 was brought before the board for its rezoning request and was unanimously approved. Jim Stackpool, of Terra Pointe, LLC, introduced himself and thanked Jones for his help in creating the plans.
"It is our hope through this development and the development of other properties through the years, that we will help you grow your utility business in the county," he said.
Engineer Ray Pittman gave the overview, pointing out the guidelines in place will create a different kind of development.
"We want to be the cream of the crop," he said, noting that the master plan will be able to grow and expand with the county.
Pittman said it could take up to seven years before the traffic interchange at Bellfast and I-95 will be built. Pittman said the project is estimated to create several thousand temporary jobs during the construction stages of the development.
- Johnny Murphy's rezoning request for a PUD for his tract of land off Hwy. 144 and Spur 144 was originally scheduled to go before the board during the meeting but has been held until further notice.
- M&G Properties was approved for a 5.2 acre piece of property on Hwy. 144 for a small five-lot subdivision.
- Planning and Zoning Director Dale Dudley gave the bid presentation for the Henderson Memorial Park. Fulsom Construction gave the low bid of $3.5 million, which included three baseball fields, three softball fields, two natural grass soccer fields, fencing, gates, drainage, grading, parking and roads.
Because this figure is more than double what the county has allocated for recreation, Commissioner Toby Roberts recommended that the bids be broken down into parts over time. The commission agreed, deciding that will end up saving money in the long run.
- Roughly $1 million has been allocated for the county to extend water lines from the Industrial Park out to the Blitchton Crossing area. The permits have not yet been issued but would allow additional hookups that will ultimately provide more Bryan County residents with fire protection.
- The County Attorney discussed the Water, Sewer and Reuse Agreement and recommended it be put into place. It will be presented to developers seeking county water and sewer services.
He also discussed the local legislative draft for a Water and Sewer Authority. The board decided it would include six members, two of whom would be commissioners. The agreement should help bring fire service protection and clean water at a reasonable rate to the county, Gardner said. The board unanimously agreed to proceed with creating the Authority.
- Kim Braggs spoke on behalf of her family, asking if they could separate their 10 acre lot of land into two five acre lots. The request was denied because the private dirt road between the two lots must be paved before the request can be considered for approval.
- Benjamin Clark and Larry Galbreath spoke on behalf of the residents of Peachtree Drive, requesting that the scheduled paving of the road be taken up to the point where the county’s road plow serviced it several years ago.
There has been a prescriptive easement debate over where the county’s responsibility for the road ends, because the road plow used to upkeep beyond the county-owned portion of the road.
The county attorney said the county ordinances could not be changed and the county could not be held accountable based on one individual’s actions.
Gardner motioned to pave the road up to the requested lot, but later retracted it. The final decision was that Clark would ask the residents if they would be willing to expand the 30-foot-wide road to 60 feet. If that is accepted, the county would consider paving it to their request at that point.