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Security gates, wetlands top Liberty County Development Authority meeting
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Interchange lighting repairs, security gates and new wetland requirements were discussed at Monday’s Liberty County Development Authority board meeting.

I-95 interchange lighting repairs

The board discussed the current status of light repairs at the Midway Interstate 95 interchange. A number of lights at the interchange have been out for several years and need to be repaired.

Coastal Electric Cooperative, which provides power for the lights, estimated that the cost of the repairs at $35,159.

An email in the meeting’s documents from Mark Bolton, the utility’s vice president of communications, marketing and economic development, to Carmen Cole, LDCA’s director of administration and finance, stated that Coastal was going to subtract $10,962 as a credit for the years that nine lights in the southeastern quadrant had been out, but were still being charged to the authority.

“Please consider, this is probably more than what most companies would have done,” the email says, “inasmuch as when lights quit burning, we never anticipated that nearly a decade later they would still not be burning. If we had known then, certainly we would have removed those nine lights from the bill way back when.”

The email also stated that Coastal is putting meters on all the lights so the LCDA only pays for the power for lights that work.

The current estimate, after the credit, for the repairs is at $24,197. Board member Al Williams asked that the matter be tabled because Liberty County is still seeking money from the Georgia Department of Transportation for some of the repairs.

Security gates

The board approved $4,303 for 555 signs to be placed every 300 feet around the Tradeport East and West industrial parks and about $17,000 for 13 gates and fencing to deter motorists and trespassers from accessing the land.

Cole said the LCDA did budget money for the gates and signs.

The board opted for the gates over a suggestion of cabled fencing. Even though cabling is cheaper, it is more dangerous to potential trespassers and harder to lock for those with permission to access the area, according to David Johns of Professional Land and Timber Services LLC.

Corps of Engineers

William Rutlin, chief of the coastal branch regulatory division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gave a presentation on the Corps’ regulatory scope. The board had invited him because it had questions about the Corps’ “interpretation of the wetlands requirements,” according to Ron Tolley, CEO of LCDA.

Information that had been previously presented to the LCDA board showed an increase in recognized wetlands in the county.

However, after the hour-long presentation and discussion, it was determined that the presentation’s focus on the Clean Water Act and the Corps’ jurisdiction did not answer the questions the board had pertaining to the specific changes brought about by a regional supplement of the Corps’ 2010 Wetland Delineation manual.

“There’s more areas on the coast today are defined as wetlands that were not previously,” said Daniel Bucey with Resources and Land Consultants, about the outcome of the supplement’s new wetland requirements. Bucey came to the podium to help answer some of the board’s questions.

After further questioning by Williams on how the delineation manual affected Liberty County, Bucey said that “the effects of the new supplement are more drastic on the coast.”

Bucey said people have seen jurisdictional determination changes to their land.

Williams said he is concerned with LCDA’s investments east of I-95 and wanted to know from Bucey how the changes affect the county “now and in the future.” Bucey responded by saying that the county is going to have more areas considered wetlands than before.

Janitorial service bids

Proposals from four janitorial companies to clean the LCDA office where presented to the board for approval. Based on the cost, Cole recommended the lowest bid, sent by P and K Environmental Services Inc. be approved.

However, the bid was less than half the cost of the next lowest bid, which raised questions from the board on whether P and K Environmental can meet the scope of work required by the contract.

Tonniesha Evans, the authority’s administrative services coordinator, told the board that the LCDA had sent out rebids on the contract because its current janitorial service, Roberts Janitorial and Carpet Cleaning Services, requested a 10 percent raise after working for the authority for several years. Authority staff believed it needed to go through a bidding process in order to consider the new cost, even though the authority was satisfied with its current janitorial service.

Board attorney Kelly Davis said the LCDA could approve of the increase to Robert Janitorial’s contract outright because the contract is not governed by the state’s procurement laws. The board approved increasing Roberts Janitorial’s contract to $847 per month.

Borrow pit discharge

Dryden Enterprise Inc. received permission to discharge storm water and water generated from a borrow pit on Claude Dryden Jr.’s property in Midway into a wetland area owned by LCDA.

A document provided to the board by T.R. Long Engineering stated that in addition to directing the borrow pit water, the firm would also need to clean an area of 20 feet wide and 300-feet area on the LCDA property for better drainage.

Tolley said in a worst-case scenario, the impact of the drainage to the wetlands would only add about 1 inch of water.

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