After months of planning, communicating with the Pentagon and taking lobbying trips to Washington, Coastal Georgia area officials learned in June 2009 from the Department of Defense that the long-anticipated fifth brigade combat team would not be stationed at Fort Stewart.
In July 2009, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., announced that the Defense Appropriations Committee approved $75 million in assistance to help the area withstand the economic impact levied by the cancelation of the fifth brigade. That amount later was decreased to about $40 million. Governments in Liberty, Bryan, Tattnall and Long counties were allowed to apply for funds.
The Long County Commission received nearly $1.3 million in remediation funds from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment last week as compensation for work the county did to prepare for a fifth military brigade.
In 2009, the Army reversed its decision to station a new brigade at Fort Stewart, and remediation funding was made available to governments in Liberty, Bryan, Tattnall and Long counties to lessen the negative financial impact.
Chairman Bobby Walker said the commission received a check for $1,278,797 and added that the county soon could receive another $673,000 in remediation funding. The money was distributed to the county for several projects, including roads and renovations to the recreation park.
In other recreation news, Walker said at the Aug. 2 commission meeting that Providence Construction, which is owned by developer Bill Nutting, had not yet completed the football fields.
Recreation department Director Michelle Crowley said the project was scheduled to be finished more than a month ago.
She said safety issues still need to be addressed.
“If it’s not completed by (Aug. 6), we’re going to get another contractor to finish the work,” Walker said.
As of Aug. 10, the work still was not finished, according to Commissioner Wallace Shaw, but crews from Providence Construction still were working on the project.
Crowley also asked the commission to approve the purchase of a new laser sprayer for painting lines on the recreation department’s fields. She said it would cost $2,349, and the commission unanimously approved the purchase.
Commissioners also appointed former recreation department Director Kerry Hunt to the recreation board to replace David Stapleton.
Towriffic Towing spokesman Bruce Ballance asked the commission whether the proposed towing ordinance had been approved.
Walker told Ballance the document is close to completion but, the commission has not yet chosen the county licensing officer. Walker said the final draft could not be voted on until the licensing officer was chosen.
A meeting attendee asked who Liberty County uses as its licensing officer, but Commissioner Andy Fuller said it doesn’t matter.
“We need to stay away from what Liberty County is putting in their ordinances,” Fuller said. “This is Long County and we need to decide for this county. That’s what the five of us got elected to do.”
The commission did not take action on the matter.
Commissioners also heard from Air Evac Lifeteam spokesperson Janice Gendreau, who addressed the issue of providing information to the public about the emergency transporting company.
“I brought you a helicopter, and you don’t even have to put it in your budget,” Gendreau said.
According to Gendreau’s information, her organization serves communities all over the nation, using more than 150 individual emergency ambulance aircraft, and 975,000 members have signed up with Air Evac Lifeteam.
In other business, the commission:
• Appointed Mildred Hopkins to the elections board.
• Appointed John L. Jones to the planning and zoning board.
• Met discussed pay with road department employees.
• Approved that work can begin on Phase II of the Horse Creek Development Project.