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Leaders plan to better Liberty County
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Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Mike Hester speaks about healthcare concerns at the county-wide planning workshop. - photo by Asha Gilbert

On Oct. 30, various governmental entities of Liberty County shared their progress and goals at a mid-year Liberty County-Wide Planning Workshop.  

“We are partners working for the betterment of Liberty County,” Liberty County Board of Commissioners Chairman Donald Lovette said. 

Lovette asked for each mayor to get up and give a one minute update on their city. Hinesville City Manager Allen Brown shared updates on the Ricewater treatment plant at Fort Stewart, residential and commercial growth, and more than 3,000 national guards coming to Hinesville for a few months.

“We are not getting a Publix,” Liberty County Planning Commission Jeff Ricketson said jokingly when giving an update on the LCPC.

Ricketson showed a PowerPoint for the exit 76 along I-95 master plan. He discussed the traffic volumes from GDOT traffic counts, flood plains, and sewage in the area. 

“There are things already happening that setting the stage for further development,” Ricketson Said. “We’re not starting from the beginning; there’s already been a lot of planning.”

He also discussed the Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization expressing the need to widen the bridge over I-95.

Liberty Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Office Mike Hester discussed the challenges with healthcare. He said 14 percent of the Liberty County population is uninsured, and 19 percent are living in poverty. 

“We want to come up with goals and objectives to see measurable progress over time,” Hester said. “How can we keep folks in Liberty County?”

One of the biggest issues is the people of Liberty County traveling out of the area for their healthcare needs, according to Hester. He said 47 percent of outpatient services for Liberty County residents traveled outside of the area for their health care needs in 2017. He also spoke about the upcoming oncology infusion center.

“We hope to start construction next year,” Hester said.

Next up was Liberty County School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry. He discussed the college and career performance review or CCRPI, and how most elementary schools had improved scores.

“Our work is in our high schools,” Perry said.

He also shared that the class of 2018 was awarded $1,219,966 in scholarship money in Liberty County.

Last up was Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown.  He said the transportation special purpose local option sales tax or TSPLOST was important to get approved by voters, because it would help fund all transportation related projects. 

TSPLOST is an optional one percent, ten-year sales tax to fund transportation projects. Brown stated that if Liberty County started TSPLOST today, in five years they would have $42 million in TSPLOST funds.

“This is how you’re going to fix your transportation problems,” Brown said

The next County-Wide Planning Workshop is March 14-15, 2019. 

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