By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Liberty gets funding in state budget
Placeholder Image
Liberty County was one of the state’s big winners when the Georgia General Assembly recently passed the $20.2 billion fiscal year 2008 budget.
Despite Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s warning the state would be “operating on a very tight budget,” the county’s prominent delegation of state lawmakers was able to secure funding for a number of local projects.
A key highlight of the 2008 budget, which takes affect July 1 if signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, is the $257,000 headed to the county to begin work on a new building for the Department of Family and Children Services.
Both state and county officials have been pushing to move the department out of its current building on North Main Street, which has been considered inadequate and cramped, for years.
County commissioner Marion Stevens said having funds allotted to start that process is “good news” for the department’s staff and the county’s citizens.
“They’re way past their limitations for employees and other personnel in the DFCS building, which can make it a hard place to work,” he said. “And I think the people of Liberty County will receive better services because you can serve people better when you have a larger facility.”
Stevens noted the next step is to make sure the site of the new DFCS facility is accessible to most residents.
“I would just love to see the old hospital site on Highway 84 be utilized, which would make it much more convenient for residents to get in and get out,” he said.
Besides funding for the DFCS building, the budget also includes $187,000 to start a new Georgia center for the hearing impaired in Hinesville.
Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway) said the center would be a vital resource not just for local residents, but also for all of Southeast Georgia.
“There’s not a hearing impaired center this side of Augusta. There are five in the state, none in Southeast Georgia,” he said. “We have 20,000 people who need the help, potentially or actively between Savannah and Brunswick. Hinesville’s an ideal location and it's the best $187,000 investment the state will ever make to assist 20,000 people.”
The county’s Fort Morris Historic Site may also get help through additional funding for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
According to Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), the funds would assist the department in adding new employees, allowing the site “to return to its original operations.”
Liberty County Tourism Manager Sandy White, who has been involved in local efforts to ensure Fort Morris remains open, said financial support for the site is essential to future tourism in the county.
“It is very important to this county that the funding goes to help restore Fort Morris back to full-time. It’s a crucial part of our tourism product,” she said. “It’s a key site on our Liberty Trail that brings visitors into the county.”
Other county items worth noting include a $10,000 local assistance grant to go towards “building a case for Hinesville” to become the home of a new veterans center, $20,000 for public safety improvements and $30,000 to complete the Cay Creek Interruptive Center in Midway.

What else is in the '08 budget?
• $5.5 million for a new four-year Mercer University Medical School at Memorial Hospital
• A three percent raise for teachers and other state employees
• $19 million for Perdue’s “Go Fish Georgia” fishing tourism program
• More than $40 million for land conservation
Sign up for our e-newsletters