Dr. James Graham owns and directs Excelsior Ambulance Service, Long County’s new service provider. He addressed the county commission Aug. 5.
Graham said Long County is unique because it does not have a hospital, which makes it hard for an ambulance service to cover the entire county. However, his company is familiar with this dilemma. Currently, it provides coverage for Hancock County, which also does not have a hospital.
Graham said he looks forward to providing services to the county, and he’s grateful for the opportunity. He said that he is available to answer questions but encouraged people to contact local manager Richard Daniels first because he would be more accessible.
Graham also introduced six EMS personnel who will work in Long County: Sandra Deunger, Melissa Cook, Bob Heffley, Arthur Davis, Heather Heffley and Ray Purcell.
According to the Excelsior website, the company was founded in 2011.
Also Tuesday, engineer Trent Long went before commissioners with recommendations on correcting drainage problems in the Vickers’ Hill subdivision.
The commission had contracted Long to do a water study on the area.
Long said some areas his study looked at included drainage history in the area before and after development, major drainage spots and soil types. He said continued maintenance on the area’s ditches is a must, and some require more upkeep than others. He discovered that ditches were not flowing adequately throughout the wetland areas.
In regards to correcting resident Carl Steen’s area, Long said five 30-inch pipes would need to be installed. But he added that when this work is completed, that area would need to be addressed due to new drainage down the road. He said that in this same area, cul-de-sac culverts would need to be increased.
Long said doing this study is not an “exact science,” so his numbers are conservative.
Steen then said he appreciated the study, but that he would like to read it himself.
Randy Simmons asked commissioners if they are planning to put calcium chloride back on dirt roads. With the number of dirt roads in the county, he feels it’s a good idea to have the chemical on them. He said that it helps keep the dust to a minimum and also with washboards.
Commissioner Dwight Gordon said that in 2011 and 2012, approximately $232,000 was spent placing the chemical on dirt roads. He said that having the maintenance was expensive, but the commission is looking into using SPLOST funds for it.
He said that if it is feasible, the commission would be in favor of starting the maintenance again.
Regarding SPLOST, Simmons asked why funding for the recreation department stopped. He said that it was his understanding that 25 percent of the SPLOST funds went to recreation. Gordon said the SPLOST breakdown was 60 percent for roads, 25 percent for recreation and 15 percent for public safety.
Gordon said that when the recreation department was expanded, money for recreation was taken from the roads and public-safety portions of the SPLOST funding. Because of that, he said, no money could be spent on recreation until the “borrowed” money is paid back.
Simmons said that the county has received
$1.3 million from Fort Stewart brigade-remediation funds, and that it was his understanding that the majority of that refund was from money spent on the recreation park. He said that if this was the case, that money should be available to be applied to recreation or to pay back the money used. Gordon said that the $1.3 million went back into the general fund and “went somewhere else,” so the SPLOST funds had to be put back into the roads and public-safety areas before any major work could be done on the recreation park.
Code-enforcement officer John Bradly also went before the commission on behalf of the developers of Briarcrest subdivision and Horsecreek subdivision-phase three. He said that all requirements are in order for the final plat approval in both areas, and he recommends approving them. Commissioners unanimously approved to continue the development.
A second story on the Aug. 5 meeting will be printed in an upcoming edition of the paper.