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City considers reactivating multijurisdictional drug task force
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Hinesville City Hall new

During the May 20, City of Hinesville Council meeting, the Mayor and Council approved the authorization of staff to sign a Joint Statement of Intent document to further explore the feasibility of establishing a multi-jurisdictional drug task force. Mayor and Council addressed reactivating the unit during their April 23-24 on-site workshop.

According to a letter from Hinesville Police Department Chief Lloyd Slater, dated May 10, there have been several discussions about reactivating the task force consisting of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, HPD and Fort Stewart’s Criminal Investigation Division. The Chief said the combination of investigative resources and pooling of officers, equipment and data will help minimize individual agencies’ cost due to improved efficiencies. The Chief also said the task force would likely generate more arrests, seizures and forfeitures in reported crimes as well as its effects on other community problems.

Councilman Keith Jenkins said he is concerned about reforming the task force. He said there was a similar unit in the past that turned out, “To be disastrous.” He said he would need a good reason to vote for reactivating another task force.

Councilwoman Diana Reid she was all for anything that would deter crime and protect the children.

“I have a grandson,” she said.

City Manager Kenneth Howard said they only thing the Mayor and Council would be authorizing now was a letter of intent to allow the research process to begin.

The Joint Statement of Intent document stated:

“The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), the Hinesville Police Department (HPD), and the Fort Stewart CID (Criminal Investigation Command) Office agree to explore the assemblance of a joint drug task force to detect and interdict the distribution of illegal drugs and harmful controlled substances within Liberty County, Georgia, including Hinesville, Fort Stewart, Walthourville, Allenhurst, Flemington, Midway, Riceboro, and Gum Branch. Our agencies are dedicated to improving the safety of the citizens of Liberty County, including the military service members and families who are based at Fort Stewart. We are willing and prepared to work across jurisdictional boundaries, including the concurrent federal and state jurisdiction area of Fort Stewart. Upon a thorough vetting process and comprehensive analytical review, including but not limited to the viability of such a joint drug task force and the roles and responsibilities of each jurisdiction, we intend to draft a charter and memorandum of understanding for review by June 30, 2021. To ensure compliance with 18 United States Code 1385 (the Posse Comitatus Act), the Fort Stewart CID’s role will be limited to cases with a military nexus, specifically those cases involving military service member subjects and/or persons who distribute or smuggle drugs destined for use by members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their family members, and civilians affiliated with the Department of Defense.”

Mayor and Council approved the updated Minority and Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program Policy. The updated M/WBE Program Policy was presented for discussion at the April 23-24, 2021 On-Site Workshop. As presented, the newly expanded program and policy seeks to promote greater business diversity and inclusion in contracting opportunities with the City. Key updates to the program and policy include an increase in the M/WBE participation goal for construction contracts and the development of an M/WBE certification program for businesses.

Mayor and Council voted to award the renovation of Bradwell Park to Dabbs Williams for $1,158,000.00. City Engineer Paul Simonton said four bids were received after they placed the project in a rebid process. He said they want to use impervious pavers to avoid storm water runoff within the park. Dabbs Williams was the contractor on Ellis Square Reconstruction Project in Savannah.

Mayor and Council approved the annexation of property, abutting Fort Stewart along Ruben Wells Road, into Hinesville. The property was zoned to PUD (Planned Unit Development) during the May 6, meeting. The annexation will become effective June 1.

Mayor and Council approved a request by RTS Homes for preliminary plat approval of a 107-lot subdivision for single-family dwellings on 29.81 acres on W 15th Street.  At its meeting on April 20, the Planning Commission recommended approval with standard and two special conditions, both of which have been met.

They approved to award a bid to Palm Coast utilities for $203,180.25 for the Flemington Curve Utility Relocation. As Part of the Georgia Department of Transportation Flemington Curve Roadway Project, the City is required to relocate water and sewer utilities.

Howard presented information to the Mayor and Council regarding the selection of healthcare plan provider for the July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022 plan year. Four companies were invited to bid with Aetna and Humana declining to submit bids.

Howard said Cigna was proposing a 4 percent increase ($61,250.28) over their current rate to renew the current benefit plan. Blue Cross/Blue Shield proposed a 3.4 percent decrease over the current annual a savings of $73,014.60.  The Council approved to contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Mayor and Council approved an intergovernmental service agreement for the water storage tower/tank maintenance on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.

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