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New complex adds services, gears up for summer

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POSTED: April 14, 2014 11:21 a.m.

The Liberty County Community Complex is a busy place, and county officials say it is about to get even more foot traffic with tag-renewal services, summer library programs and the pool opening.
Liberty County Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones announced last week that the Liberty County Tag Office officially will open Monday. County officials long have said satellite offices for county services would be located at the complex to better serve east-end residents.
“Once the new complex was completed, the process to set up the satellite office immediately began,” Jones said. “A request was put in with the state back in August 2013. Because of all the technical components involved in setting up equipment to connect to the state’s GRATIS system it has taken much longer to open than I had hoped or anticipated.”
The tax commissioner said he has worked to establish a satellite tag office for the past 10 years.
“My belief is that there are too many citizens and too much tax revenue coming from the east end of the county to not offer these residents a special service,” he said. “The ability to offer the residents the convenience of renewing their auto tag without driving into Hinesville, if they prefer, is something I am excited about.”
The satellite tag office will be open from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The site will be closed on county holidays.
“To make this site work efficiently, the site is set up for tag renewals only,” Jones said. “These are transactions where the vehicle owner’s registration is about to expire and they simply wish to renew their registration for another year. Any process other than this, such as title transfers or resolving title or tag problems, should be handled at our main branch.”
The tax commissioner said he hopes that, in time, residents also will be able to pay property taxes at the satellite office.
Jones added that with the opening of the Midway site, the hours of operation for the Fort Stewart satellite office will change. The new office hours on Fort Stewart are from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
County Recreation Department Director Jimmy Martin said the pool at the complex will open for summer fun May 24. Martin said the pool will be open daily from 2-6 p.m. through the summer and will close the weekend after the 2014-15 school year begins Aug. 6.
Swimming lessons will be offered from 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Thursday, at a cost of $25 per child. The 50-minutes classes are taught four days a week for two weeks, Martin said. Evening swim lessons from 6-7 p.m. also will be offered.
The recreation director said he expects the complex’s pool to be heavily reserved for private use, such as birthday parties, in the evenings and on weekends, as is the Hinesville pool.
Other recreational programs at the complex include martial arts lessons, acrobatics, ballet, jazz and hip-hop dance classes, and individual piano instruction.
Martin added the complex auditorium, with its kitchen and stage, offers residents “an exceptional” space to rent for special events such as weddings or family reunions.
The community complex renovations were paid for with $5.2 million in Special Local Option Sales Tax funds, according to Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown. A grand opening for the complex was held last fall. County commissioners want to pay for additional improvements to the complex with SPLOST funds, should voters approve a new SPLOST this November. These improvements would include a pavilion, walking trails, sports fields and renovating the old high-school gym.
“The new Liberty County Community Complex validates the power of the wise use of SPLOST,” Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette said. “It is also a direct indication of the result of governmental entities in collaboration for opportunities to enhance the quality of life of our citizens.”
The chairman pointed to the opening of the tag office as a prime example of government working to serve the taxpayer.
He added that Live Oak Public Library officials reported an increase in the Midway-Riceboro library branch’s patronage at the complex. The former branch library was in a 1,000-square-foot building. The current, expanded branch is just under 5,000 square feet. It opened last October.
“During previous summers, the Midway-Riceboro Library could only accommodate small activities, such as craft sessions,” Live Oak Public Library public-relations coordinator Susan Lee said. “Because the new library building features a spacious story-time room with tiered seating, larger-scale programs and performers will be on the branch’s summer reading program calendar this year.”
Lee said library visits have increased 131 percent from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2014, and that library circulation rose by 36 percent.
 “I am most proud that children’s programs have been embraced by east-end families,” Lovette said. “In addition, the computer labs now serve numerous children and families without Internet access at home. Staff at the complex tells me of neighborhood children who presently walk to the site.”
Lovette said the community can be proud of the complex.
“It provides a great resource, another option and a new selling point for residential, commercial and industrial prospects to the east end of the county,” he said.
For more information on the tag office, call 912-876-3389 or email virgil.jones@libertycountyga.com.
For details on complex recreational programs, call 912-884-3500. Midway-Riceboro library staff can be reached at 884-5742.

 

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