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County holds line on millage rate
county seal

The Bryan County Board of Commissioners set the 2015 county millage rate at 9.15 mills Tuesday evening during a meeting at the county annex in Richmond Hill.

The commissioners also approved the school-board millage rate at 15.537 mills. Both rates are the same as 2014.

The county had the option of increasing its millage rate to 9.232, which would have raised approximately $89,000 more in revenue, but they opted to continue last year’s millage rate. Finance Director John Grotheer told the commissioners that under state law, that would not have been considered a millage increase.

Drivers on Highway 144 at the new Belfast River Road roundabout will eventually see some light when the Georgia Department of Transportation installs streetlights in the area, but that will likely not be anytime soon.

Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor said that under an agreement with the GDOT, the area will be lit once Highway 144 is widened and a permanent roundabout is installed. Taylor said the agreement calls for the GDOT to pay for the material and installation of the streetlights and the county to pay the ongoing costs to operate and maintain the system. He said it also calls for an additional lane to be added to the roundabout.

The commissioners also approved a resolution for changes to the county personnel policy and appointed Brad Brookshire to the Middle Coastal Unified Development Authority, replacing Dell Keith, who recently moved out of the area. There were several issues raised about the personnel policy, including the number of vacation hours employees could sell back if they left county employment.

Commissioners Wade Price and Rick Gardner opposed the resolution. Commissioner Steve Myers said it was only a resolution and that it could easily be changed, if necessary.

In planning and zoning matters, the commissioners approved a revised preliminary plat for Dunham Marsh Subdivision Phase 3C, which increases the number of single-family homes in the development and decreases the number of townhouses. The commissioners also approved the preliminary plat for Belfast River Landing Subdivision.

The developer, John Hopkins, presented a plat that did not call for sidewalks, something required by the county development ordinance. That didn’t make Commissioner Rick Gardner happy.

“We’re going down a slippery slope of approving things without finalizing certain details,” Gardner said.

Commissioners Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said the sidewalk issue could be handled “administratively” by staff.

After further discussion, Gardner and the other commissioners voted to approve the preliminary plat.

Taylor detailed a plan to install 10 tennis courts at Henderson Park with construction starting at the end of this year. The
$600,000 project will include restrooms, parking and a small building with storage and meeting capabilities. Projections call for the project to be completed next spring.

County accountant Richard Deal presented the 2014 county audit and highlighted several areas, saying the county is in “sound financial shape.”

“The county has total cash on hand of $19.6 million; $11 million of that is in the general fund, and $4 million is in the (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) account,” Deal said.

Taylor said he had established a list of 12 roads that need to be resurfaced. On the south end of the county, they include Warnell Drive, Sweet Hill Road, Rathlin Road, Oak Hill Road, Kelly Davis Road, Brisbon Road and Belle Island Road. On the north end, they include Arden Loop Circle, Oracal Parkway, Olive Branch Road, Ellabell Loop Road and Charles Shuman Road. No timetable was set for resurfacing.

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