The Liberty County Commissioners opened their first meeting of 2021 with remarks welcoming the New Year before proceeding with regular business.
Maxie R. Jones IV, newly elected District 4 commissioner led by saying he was honored to be joining the group and that “the tasks will not be taken lightly” as he begins his work as a commissioner. Jones replaces Commissioner Pat Bowen who did not seek re-election.
Liberty’s new sheriff, Will Bowman, spoke next, promising to “work my tail off” for Liberty Countians. One early task, he said, was to change the mindset of law enforcement officers about who they work for. Bowman said he was telling the sheriff’s office staff, “You do not work for me, you work with me for the citizens of Liberty County.”
He said, “There is a lot of work to do,” because the sheriff’s office is out of compliance in several areas. The officer-to-inmate ratio at the jail was at a dangerous level, Bowman said.
Chief Financial Officer Kim McGlothlin reported that the county was in pretty good financial shape, with money in hand sufficient to fund 3.7 months of county operations. Last year at this time the figure was three months. McGlothlin said sales tax collections were fantastic, with $900,000 received from the month of October. Sales tax revenue is ahead of projected amounts.
The commissioners overturned a recommendation from the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission to grant a variance for setback on a shed which had stood for ten years without a complaint. A disagreement among neighbors resulted in an objection being filed, but the commissioners granted the variance to allow the shed to remain.
County Engineer Trent Long reported on plans to improve or update the county’s convenience centers for recycling or disposal. Some centers need relatively little work, Long said. In contrast, the center near the intersection of Islands Highway and Isle of Wight Road should be abandoned, he recommended, and replaced with a site farther from the busy intersection.
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