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Groups get drug-prevention funding
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Liberty County commissioners voted to provide money from its Drug Abuse Treatment and Education fund to two youth organizations at its regular meeting Tuesday night. Save Our Children and  Scott’s All-Stars each will receive $3,000 toward the cost of drug prevention and awareness education as part of their programs.
Save Our Children is an educational drug abuse program that works to reduce incidents  of controlled substance use and marijuana use among youths ages 13-18. The program is in its seventh year, according to the group’s fund application submitted to the commission.
Scott’s All-Stars is a basketball program for fourth-graders  that incorporates emphasis on academic excellence and staying drug-free into its offerings. The program is in its inaugural year, according to its application for funds.
Save our Children had requested $13,000 and Scott’s All-Stars requested $14,000, but commissioners said at the meeting that the DATE fund had just $7,239 available.
After reviewing the applications, Commissioner Eddie Walden suggested a committee be formed to help the commission review and consider applications for funding, since so many organizations applied.
“We constantly talk about different groups that come in and ask for funds. We’re at a point where we need to have someone to help us recommend some of these [groups] to us.” Walden said.
He added that he doesn’t want the public to think that the commission is simply “picking and choosing” who to assist. “Are we targeting the people that we really want to target…I just want to make sure we’re doing the right thing.”
Commission Chairman John McIver agreed with the idea of the committee, saying even though the board may see the number of participants in such a program but not see the results of the program they’ve helped fund.
In other meeting news, commissioners adopted an ordinance requiring cell tower and antenna owners to register and obtain an operating permit on or before July 31 of each calendar year. The ordinance becomes effective July 1.
The county’s updated timber operations ordinance was also adopted and made effective July 1. To be consistent with Georgia law, the county ordinance does not require that a permit be obtained; rather, timber harvesters must give prior written notice to the county of proposed harvesting operations.
Additionally, though Georgia law authorizes the request for a surety bond, the county’s ordinance will not require one as a condition for harvesting operations unless the public works director determines the harvesting is being conducted in a manner that endangers public property or  safety.
The county also approved the renewal of the county’s summer food service program with a start date of June 14; the program is funded by state dollars and provides free meals to children to ensure their nutritional needs are met when school is not in session. Liberty County offers multiple sites for participants to get a free lunch.
Commissioners were presented with the intergovernmental agreement regarding fire services in unincorporated Liberty County, but chose not to take action until other local governments had approved it.
The board of commissioners will meet again at 5 p.m. June 17 for its mid-month meeting.
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