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BoC talks fire services, mosquito control

POSTED: May 29, 2012 7:00 a.m.
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Liberty County Board of Commissioners Chairman John McIver displays the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander Day proclamation during last week’s commission meeting. Next to him are representatives from the Liberty County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Keep Liberty Beautiful.

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The Liberty County Commission last week approved a service agreement for mosquito control in Flemington and entertained a request from Walthourville to increase the county’s allotment for fire services to the city.

Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray asked the county to consider increasing its $12,000 allocation for fire protection services, citing a doubling of service calls since the first quarter of 2011.

“Last year, this time we had like 212 calls, and now we’re up to 393,” Pray said. “And only 200 of those are inside the city limits of Walthourville; the others are outside. The area is larger, we go into Gum Branch and we go into Riceboro, and this causes more expenses on the city of Walthourville ... as you know, gas has gone up, and it’s cost more on the city.”

In her written request, Pray wrote that fuel reimbursement increased by 48 percent and mutual aid increased by 93 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Commission Chairman John McIver asked if Pray had a breakdown of the calls within city limits and those to unincorporated areas.

Pray said that county fire coordinator James Ashdown said most of the calls are going into Gum Branch, which prompted discussion about which fire stations are first and second to be dispatched to calls in the county.

County Administrator Joey Brown said he has been working with 911 and Ashdown to track fire calls and dispatches. Ashdown has established a classification code for fire chiefs to better track the calls and apply the classification retroactively.  

“Our responsibility to the cities is under contract to help provide outside-of-the-city service …” Brown said, adding that the finance committee is already evaluating how to satisfy requests from multiple departments as they establish the 2013 budget.

Brown said the fire coordinator and finance committee would analyze the call data and budget options before responding to the request.

The board also approved a one-year service contract for mosquito control in Flemington, with the option to renew.

Assistant county administrator Bob Sprinkel said Flemington discontinued its use of OMI, which contracts with Hinesville for public works, because the county’s services were cheaper.

“We have to charge the at-cost rate,” Sprinkel said. “We can’t make a profit off of it, we have to charge them just what it costs us to do the job.”

Under the agreement, the county will receive $234 per month in exchange for spraying the city’s 16 miles of road once per week. The added workload for the county amounts to about seven hours of labor and 65 miles of driving per month, Sprinkel said.

In other news, the board also:

• issued a proclamation declaring May 18 as Frosted Flatwoods Salamander Day as part of honoring the Endangered Species Act. The animal, used as the convention and visitor bureau logo, is an endangered species with more than 5,000 acres of critical habitat on Fort Stewart.

• heard updates on the Holmestown-Screven Forks rural water system. P.C. Simonton engineering consultant Matthew Barrow said a test of the miocene well indicated it should serve as an adequate water supply for the system and that the project is on track for construction to begin early next year.

• discussed the Coast2Coast prescription card, a free program that would offer county residents prescription discount cards. The board requested to hear more information during its June 5 meeting.

• will have a budget presentation at 6 p.m. Monday June 11.

 

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