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Grand jurors ponder concerns
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Of the agencies discussed in the recent presentments of the Liberty County Grand Jury, the county commission seemed to fare best among authorities and commissions discussed, usually critically.
Grand jurors said the information provided by County Administrator Joey Brown generally met their requirements, a distinct contrast from their experiences with the Development Authority, the Hospital Authority and the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.
The members of the grand jury challenged the figure of $20.6 billion in economic impact to be generated by the Mid-Coast Business Center, but their inquiries revealed the figure was furnished by the Development Authority and was said to represent the entire mega-park project, not the business center alone.
Another concern was the extent upon which Liberty County relies on grants to fund both ongoing operating and capital needs. County Chief Financial Officer Kim McGlothlin told the grand jury Liberty had six operating grants and two capital grants, as well as other smaller ones.
Jurors were concerned that should grants be lost or not awarded, substantial appropriations would be needed from the commission for continued operations.
Information furnished by Liberty Regional Medical Center, as a component of the county, showed, the grand jury said, that the hospital had not been profitable in recent years and possibly not ever.
The presentments point out LRMC “should be of concern to the citizens of Liberty County because ... the commissioners level an annual millage rate on behalf of the hospital.”
McGlothlin told the grand jurors of the progress the solid waste authority had made toward becoming self-sustaining. She was optimistic about the future financial health of that solid waste authority, but noted that the commissioners had subsidized its operation for many years and that money would likely never be recovered.
The E-911 emergency system receives funds from telephone subscribers, but these are not sufficient for its operation. McGlothlin predicted the commission would have to continue to subsidize E-911 from the county's general fund.
Future Courier articles will deal with more of the grand jury's findings, including those concerning the school board and the Liberty County Development Authority.
The full text of the presentments is available on the Liberty County Clerk of Courts website and the grand jury itself has taken the innovative step of establishing a site -- - where the presentments are displayed and the public is invited to comment and to read the comments of others.
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