The Liberty County Board of Commissioners on Thursday discussed two capital project designs for which construction funding has yet to be secured.
The board authorized the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office to engage an architect for design of an estimated 5,000-square-foot administrative office at the jail on Paul Sikes Drive.
Chief Deputy Jon Long presented the request, which he said will enable space within the existing jail structure to be re-allocated and more efficiently used.
"It would just give these guys a much more professional environment to work in," Jon Long said.
Under the current arrangement and for certain activities, inmates are moved out of the secured portion of the jail, through the lobby and into the administrative offices, he said. That means inmates and victims waiting to give statements sometimes come into contact with each other.
"Of course, they’re shackled, handcuffed and everything, but it’s just not a good situation for our citizens to be in," Jon Long said.
There is about $500,000 in SPLOST funds available for design of the facility, but construction funds are not yet available, County Administrator Joey Brown said. The plan is to include construction funds on the next SPLOST referendum, with the project among the first to be constructed as the design will have been finalized.
Engineering consultant Trent Long also presented tentative designs for the county-owned marina on Cattle Hammock Road. Design work is funded through a $35,190 coastal-incentive grant, but construction funds have not been identified.
Trent Long’s proposal includes constructing the marina over several phases to advance as funding becomes available.
The design calls for the boat hoist to be operated by a paid staff member, with usage fees to contribute toward operating costs.
The concept includes an office area, a preparation area for boats, and docks that could hold up to 20 boats. Future plans could include a playground, fuel station and pavilion.
Trent Long said moving the boats down the 400-foot-long hoist will take about five minutes in one direction, with a capacity to serve about four watercraft per hour.
"So what happens … when you’ve got six boats waiting in line?" Commissioner Marion Stevens said.
Trent Long said that’s why he planned for a "make-ready" area.
"Unfortunately, unless you build two hoists, you really can’t get a hoist to go too much faster, and if it did … it’s dangerous," he said.
Commissioner Eddie Walden said the board should see other amenities and designs for other ramps before making final decisions.
Liberty County finance officer Kim McGlothlin also updated the board on the tentative budget for fiscal-year 2014.
Initial budget requests came in with about a $2.6 million shortfall, but McGlothlin said officials have wrangled with the numbers to bring the budget within a $187,624 acceptable "margin of error" range.
To do so, the county plans to use about $235,000 in Office of Economic Activity funds previously allocated for capital projects and another $332,250 from fund balance, she said. The budget also does not include merit, cost-of-living or longevity pay increases for employees.
McGlothlin said the county’s goal is to maintain the current millage rate.
In other news Thursday, the BoC also:
• voted to issue SPLOST-funded historical and cultural grants of $10,000 each to Seabrook Village, the Midway Museum, the Liberty County Historical Society, Geechee Kunda, Dorchester Village Civic Center, the Dorchester Improvement Association, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority and the LeConte-Woodmanston Foundation.
• Approved expenditure of $3,121 as the county’s portion of a local contribution for the extension of runway 6L at MidCoast Regional Airport. The total project cost is $296,979, but the Federal Aviation Administration is covering 95 percent and the Georgia Department of Transportation is covering a share. The city of Hinesville and Liberty County Development Authority each are expected to contribute $3,121 as airport funding partners to reach the $9,364 local contribution.