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County to move forward with November SPLOST referendum
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The Liberty County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday decided that it will propose a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum to citizens this year.

Though no formal action was taken, the commissioners “agreed to proceed with steps necessary to have (SPLOST) considered by voters in November,” according to County Administrator Joey Brown.

The commission also heard from Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Michelle Ricketson, who formally requested the reallocation of SPLOST V funds that were earmarked for improvements at Bryant Commons.

Originally, the roughly $3,900 were designated to help fund the installation of sidewalks throughout the park, which is set to officially open to the public March 7.

With the failure of last November’s SPLOST VI referendum, however, funding for the grid of sidewalks that the Bryant Commons master plan calls for — which could cost upward of $500,000 — is not readily available, and Ricketson said that the funds left from SPLOST V would be better spent on the nearly-completed restroom facilities.

“By using (the funds) toward the restrooms, the public will be able to benefit from them much more quickly,” Ricketson said.

At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, commission Chairman Donald Lovette made a statement to clarify what he thought was a “misleading” article that appeared in the Dec. 28 edition of the Coastal Courier.

The article detailed a single-vehicle accident that caused damage to the exterior wall of the historic Liberty County jail. Lovette said he was “surprised” to read the article, which quoted him extensively in regard to plans to repair the damage.

Lovette noted that all restoration plans and insurance claims will be handled by the HDDA and the city of Hinesville. He said that he does serve on the HDDA’s board and coordinates Savannah Technical College’s preservation efforts, but that was his “only tie-in.”

“The county has no ownership of the jail,” he said.

In other business, the commission:

•heard a first reading of the proposed amendments to the Riceboro Subarea Future Land Use Map, as presented by Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission Executive Director Jeff Ricketson.

•unanimously approved a “type B” home-occupation request submitted by Joseph Cook, who wants to open a taxidermy business at his South Coastal Highway residence. Cook said he deals predominantly with trophy fish, and his services will be available by appointment only.

•unanimously approved a conditional-use request, filed by Margaret Lopez, to operate a bed-and-breakfast at her River Drive residence. The request was approved on the condition “to specifically exclude any venues for special events,” according to the LCPC’s documents.

•unanimously approved a conditional-use request by Sandco Towers II LLC to construct and operate a 195-foot cell tower and wireless-telecommunications facility off of Willie Dixon Road. According to LCPC documentation, the tower is designed to accommodate four service providers.

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