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Advisory council lets citizens voice concerns

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POSTED: February 26, 2011 7:00 a.m.

The Liberty County Commission Citizens Advisory Council wants to let residents know their voices and opinions count.
On Wednesday evening, the group met to discuss issues they want to address with the Liberty County Commission before the county planning session in April on St. Simons. The council members are appointed for a specific district by the county commissioners and get together once a month to talk about problems or concerns in Liberty County communities. 
“What we do is, we listen to the community and we research the things the community is looking for and try to report to the commissioners once a month of what we find — we try to be the voice of the community,” Vice Chairman Jeff McIntosh said. “We’re basically appointed by the commissioners to represent them and to represent that area.” 
Topics that surfaced during the two-hour meeting included concerns about excessive county spending, taxes, teen curfew enforcement and polycarts.
Between March and April, McIntosh and other members want to get the opinions of residents in each district through a town hall meeting format. As long as commissioners’ schedules allow, the council hopes to have a commissioner present from his or her respective district to answer questions. A moderator will be present and each resident will be allowed to speak for two minutes.
“We need to let the community know we need their opinions,” McIntosh told members. “We just urge people to come out to the meetings.”
County Administrator Joey Brown said the April agenda for the planning session has not been set and that elected officials from various groups will propose key issues for discussion in the next month. Two possible discussions could be water availability and transportation, Brown said.
“[Any] issues would need to be suggested to one of these officials so they can propose it when they send back their registration material,” Brown said. The administrator said the commissioners all have expressed a desire to attend the town hall gatherings, but will do so based on availability.
Any residents who want to attend the planning session April 27-29 may do so, but will not be allowed to participate in the discussion, assistant county administrator Bob Sprinkle said.
Regarding the elected officials’ decision to go outside of Liberty County for the session, Sprinkle said it is to avoid distractions and because there is not a large enough facility in the county to host several breakout sessions at one time.
“Our communication is fantastic, but we take those two and a half days to truly communicate with each other,” Sprinkle said of the session. “Instead of moving little ant hills, we move mountains. I think they are fully worth it.”
Sprinkle said that Savannah Tech’s local campus was a result of combined efforts at a previous planning session and it wasn’t because of the work of one entity.
“Our leaders don’t get a chance to talk very often in a setting that they can accomplish something,” he said.  “These planning sessions are worth everything to get people to talk and work together … things fall apart when people don’t work together. Communication is key.”

 

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