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County weighs possible animal-control sites

Officials want to improve solid-waste bill collections

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POSTED: March 7, 2014 10:25 a.m.

The Liberty County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday discussed three possible sites on which to build a new animal-control facility. The county would fund the project with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
One site the county is looking into is off Technology Drive at the old airport, a second is next to the transfer station on Rogers Pasture Road and a third is an H-shaped piece of property at the end of JV Road currently used as a dry trash site for the city of Hinesville.
County Engineer Trent Long presented commissioners an aerial map of the JV Road property. Long told the commission a greater amount of prep work would have to be done to prepare the JV Road site than was needed at the old airport site.
Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown added that a septic system would need to be installed at the Rogers Pasture Road site, should the county choose that location for its new animal-control facility. Brown said water and sewer lines would have to be extended if commissioners agreed to place animal control either at the old airport or JV Road sites.  
Brown mentioned there is a possibility the county will partner with a local adoption agency so the group can locate next to the proposed animal-control facility.
Commissioners also touched on the county’s desire to improve collections on solid-waste bills, particularly from residents who chronically fail to pay these fees.
“There are two issues here,” Brown said in an email. “The ability to enforce the collection of mobile home decal fees, and the corresponding solid-waste bill generated as part of those transactions.”
The county administrator explained that mobile-home decals are billed separately from real property taxes. These decal fees are collected by the tax commissioner’s office, he said.
“There is also the issue of those persons who elect to pay the property taxes minus the solid-waste fee,” Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette said. “Others don’t pay any of it. We will have to be more aggressive in the collection process.”
“The tax commissioner has the power to levy against the mobile home, much like a levy against real property,” Brown said. “There are a few challenges there, like where to store the mobile home if it is seized as a result of non-payment, etc. Through conversations with the tax commissioner and magistrate’s office, it was decided that the collection of unpaid decal fees and corresponding solid-waste fees would be accomplished by first sending out delinquent notices from our office of enforcement followed by magistrate court citations for those not responding. The magistrate court would then hear the case and, at their discretion, issue an order to pay.”
Brown said a countywide poly-cart system is one way to give the county more control over collecting delinquent solid-waste fees.
“Non-payment is obviously an issue that has to be tackled even with a county-wide poly-cart system,” he said. “Billing under that system would most likely be performed by the county and the county would most likely contract with a collection agency for delinquent accounts after service has been terminated.”
The commission agreed the county should meet with the tax commissioner, tax assessor and magistrate judge to discuss improving solid waste fee collections.
“Our aim is to create a mechanism for the magistrate’s office to ensure those persons who pay fines and fees in that office also go to the tax collector’s office to pay the solid-waste fees and (mobile-home) decal fees,” Lovette said.


 

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