After several years of requesting that Long County residents properly address their homes, the Long County Commission is determined to make sure their efforts haven’t been an exercise in futility.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the 911 Addressing Ordinance, mandating that everyone who lives in the county apply reflective numbers or characters on a contrasting background at their homes and businesses. According to the ordinance, anyone who is not in compliance will be fined up to $100. If anyone removes, alters or defaces any properly posted address, they’ll face fines up to $1,000. In addition to the fines, violators will foot the bill for prosecution and/or enforcement of the ordinance.
According to commissioners, the requirement was implemented to improve the Long County E-911/Emergency Communication System and to provide uniformity. Chairman Robert Long said that properly posted, visible addresses will assist fire and rescue crews, law-enforcement agencies, postal- and parcel-delivery companies, utility companies, public-works employees and tax-appraisal officers in providing quality service to county residents. Anyone with questions about the address requirements can contact the code-enforcement office.
The commission also appointed Parker’s Mortuary Transport as the body-transporting contractor for the county. Though the bid to accept Parker’s was unanimous, it was not approved without some discussion. Brown’s Mortuary Service also bid for the contract, and a spokesman from the company asked the commission why Parker’s operation was chosen over his.
Vice Chairman Dwight Gordon said that parts of Brown’s proposal were not clear because he broke it down by a per-mile cost instead of a round-trip cost. Brown offered to provide explanations for the questionable segments of his bid, but Gordon said that because both contractors received the same bid-process information and the sealed bids already had been opened, he could not.
For the sake of clarity, Commissioner Gerald Blocker read aloud the amounts of each provider’s bid for different services. Prior to discussing the matter, Long excused himself from the proceedings because he is related to Parker.
Though Parker’s company was awarded the contract, he still faces pending charges that stem from his alleged involvement in a 2010 arson case, in which his Ludowici home burned. He is scheduled to appear in court before Judge Robert Russell III on July 2 in Ludowici.
The commission also approved the purchase of a new Caterpillar backhoe from Yancy Inc. for $100,000. Blocker said that the lease-to-own contract comes with an equipment warrantee and a clause stating that Yancy will buy back the backhoe from the county in five years for $55,000. That measure also did not pass without some discussion.
Commissioner Willie Thompson, who oversees the county road crew, voted against the measure because he said no one asked him for input on the purchase or told him about the plan until Tuesday. Gordon said that Blocker did contact him about the proposal, but after the meeting, Blocker said that he also is over the road crew, and that not contacting Thompson was an oversight on his part. Even though Blocker claimed he also oversees the crew, Thompson did not agree and maintained he heads the department.
According to information provided by Long and published in the July 17, 2013, Coastal Courier, Thompson is responsible for overseeing the road crew, not Blocker. In that same article, Long asserted that Thompson also oversees the development authority, the equalization board and the workforce board, while Blocker oversees the fire department, the sheriff’s office, the EMA office, the Department of Family and Children’s Service Board, the Coastal Regional Health Department Board, the Wiregrass E-911 Center Board, the hospital authority and the regional All-Hazards Council.
In earlier business on May 23, the commission hired McIntosh County attorney James Smith as its new legal counsel to replace Jay Swindell, who resigned last month. Gordon also was appointed commission vice chair to replace Kent Hall, who stepped down last month.