The Liberty County Board of Commissioners during its Tuesday meeting approved a modification to its previously adopted district boundaries, a bond extension for the Silver Dollar Lounge and $15,000 roadwork.
The redistricting issue was a last-minute addition toward the end of the meeting.
County administrator Joey Brown said the state Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office notified him last Friday that the submitted county redistricting plan approved in December needed minor modification.
“We just need to get the board to bless this change so reapportionment can go forward,” Brown said. “Basically, (there is) an area where there were eight folks that would have been in District 5 and would have had to go to District 6 to vote, because of voting precincts. … So what they’re recommending is encompassing a census block into District 6 of 20 people.”
The board unanimously approved the modification, which allows the proposed districts to move forward to ensure that each district represents proportionate populations according to the 2010 Census figures.
The Liberty County Board of Education also will need to approve the change.
If adopted before the July 31 General Primary/Nonpartisan/Special Election, candidates for County Commission Districts 4, 5 and 6 and BoE Districts 1, 2 and 3 will seek seats for the new boundaries.
The board also granted Sun Cha Seales, owner of the Silver Dollar Lounge, a six-month extension on required site improvements.
Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission zoning specialist Alissa Davis said The Heritage Bank issued the county an irrevocable letter or credit in the amount of $81,774 for the Silver Dollar Lounge on Feb. 18, 2011. The purpose of the letter was to guarantee completion of required parking lot improvements at the business within one year.
Seales requested a six-month extension to the letter of credit because financial obstacles stalled the work, Davis said.
If the credit was not extended, the county would have the ability to call the credit and collect the money as a penalty for failure to comply with the terms of the certificate of occupancy and the county’s development ordinances, Davis said.
Commissioner Connie Thrift asked if there was a guarantee that the bank would extend the letter of credit. Davis said a bank representative told her that Seales has not gone through the process of getting the extension, but that she has time to do so.
When asked why Seales made the request so close to the deadline, Davis explained that the LCPC had issues contacting Seales and that Seales had been placing calls to different departments.
Commissioner Pat Bowen suggested the commission approve the request on the condition that Seales produces documentation of an extended letter of credit.
“Actually, I think that she would need to have the extension and have it in our hands by Feb. 16,” Brown said. “So that if we didn’t have it by the 16th, we could call the letter of credit in on the 17th before the bond expires.”
“Mr. Chairman, prior to that, she has had 12 months to make these improvements?” Thrift asked. “We issued her a business license with the intention that she was going to have this corrected in 12 months.”
“That’s correct,” Davis said.
After more discussion, the board approved the six-month extension with the contingency that Seales must produce documentation of an extension before the close of business on Feb. 16.
In other news, the board also:
• approved two $5,000 funding awards to Save Our Children and the Fraser Center Counseling Center from the county’s Drug Abuse and Treatment Education fund, which comes from a portion of court fees collected from offenders with drug- and alcohol-related offenses.
• voted to contribute $15,226 in SPLOST funds for roadwork at the future Liberty Regional Medical Center east-end clinic, which will be on Islands Highway between Interstate 95 and Tradeport East Business Center.
• approved a request to complete some road repairs to Interstate Paper Road. The company will cover the cost of supplies, and the county will cover an estimated $3,500 in labor. Though the section of the public road is in Riceboro city limits, Riceboro contracts with the county for road maintenance.