Tensions ran so high during parts of the Bryan County Commission meeting Tuesday that one of the last speakers, Mark Smith, introduced himself by saying, "I’m not mad about anything."
Smith, representing South Atlantic Water Co., said the county’s proposed water plan included "a tremendous amount of over-engineering, such as elevated water tanks all over the county," and "we could build a water system that would save you a lot of money."
The commissioners accepted a batch of blueprints from Smith and said they would be interested in more information.
In a tense moment, South Bryan resident Shelia Galbreath said every coastal county except Bryan had Stephens-Day type tax relief for homeowners and that Rep. Bob Lane was apparently the single holdout preventing such a measure for Bryan County.
Thus, she said, the county seat should be moved from Pembroke to Richmond Hill. When Bacon asked why the county seat should be moved, Galbreath said, "It doesn’t matter," and quoted Georgia Code 36-4-1 which provides that if two-fifths of the registered voters petition for it, an election will be held to determine if the county will be moved. "We will work tirelessly for that," Galbreath said.
In a short statement after the meeting, Galbreath said that the commissioners’ meeting in Pembroke allowed them to operate "in the dark. It’s hard for us - from Richmond Hill - to attend these meetings here." She also said that most of the population and business of the county is in South Bryan.
In other business Tuesday, the commission struck a blow for rural Bryan County lifestyle in the Ellabell area. They overruled their planning and zoning staff and voted to allow Virginia Dennis to keep her horses on the 3.5 acres she and her husband Teddy own on Mannie English Road.
Dennis said she wanted to enjoy a simpler lifestyle than what the cookie cutter subdivisions provide.
Ralph Cavender got a nod from the commission for his preliminary plan to develop 109 acres at the intersection of Highways 280 and 80. His proposed Blitchton Crossing development will include commercial activity as well as 144 residential units.
Minutes show that the commission met on Jan. 25 with the development authority to discuss land acquisition and an industrial prospect interested in Bryan County. The commission voted to allocate $1.5 million to pay for land apparently to be offered to the industrial prospect.
The land in question is adjacent to the present industrial park.