Editor’s note: Thursday, the Liberty County Commission couldn’t conduct business due to members being unable to attend.
Different day, different board, different members, but something similar happened Monday at the Midway city council meeting.
That’s relatively rare. But given that it seemed to be somewhat of a recurring theme this month, here’s our coverage of both meetings, wrapped into one story.
A long-standing dispute between the Liberty County Development Authority and the city of Midway over water and sewer fees was scheduled for final solution Monday but lack of a quorum prevented the Midway City Council from giving its formal approval.
The authority and Midway share water and water treatment services but have disagreed for years over some provisions of the services. An agreement was reached earlier this year and both bodies and the county commission have signed on, but Midway’s final formal approval was needed; it appeared as an agenda item for Monday’s Midway council meeting.
When Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington called the meeting to order, council members Levern Clancy and Curtes Roberts were the only councilmen present.
Washington said she had heard agenda have been postponed for consideration at the council’s regular August meeting.
The mayor reported to those present that Midway would be receiving about $25,000 in Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant money from the state Department of Transportation.
Reports from city department heads had been scheduled for Monday’s meeting along with information from Washington on the reopening of Cay Creek Wildlife Center and the status of Midway’s city hall/multipurpose building project.
Officials hope to break ground on the city hall site by next month.
Thursday night’s regular meeting of the Liberty County Commission was cut short when officials realized they no longer had a quorum. Several items on the agenda were rescheduled to the next meeting Aug. 1.
One casualty of the truncated meeting was the authorization to move ahead with the countywide fire and rural protection plan, also called rural emergency protection.
Commissioners were looking at a planned fee to go on tax bills to pay for the service. According to one example a home with a $250,000 fair market value would pay $320 a year for fire and rescue service.
Emergency workers have frequently pointed out that most of their calls are rescues or medical emergencies, not fires.
Although unable to pass the motion to proceed with only three commissioners, Marion Stevens, Connie Thrift and Pat Bowen present, it was informally decided to see if the plan needed further tweaking and to take it to the people in a series of public meetings, similar to the public input that was invited as the plan was being drawn up.
Commissioner Eddie Walden, a Georgia Power employee, was called in to work on restoring power following a thunderstorm in Hinesville. Around the time Walden left Bowen also disappeared from sight, only to return after the meeting was adjourned.
Commissioner Justin Frasier does shift work at a local mill and was at work Thursday evening. Commissioner Gary Gilliard was with a family member who was receiving medical treatment.
With no quorum remaining, Commission Chairman Donald Lovette and County Administrator Joey Brown began to review what been handled during the unexpectedly short meeting.
The commission gave final approval to refinancing a bond issue for Liberty Regional Medical Center; the arrangements had been agreed to at the last meeting. The new issue will save the county money, officials said. The bond issue will be placed with Ameris Bank. Bond Counsel Jim Pannell told the commissioners that the new bond arrangement would “reduce the exposure of the county in its agreement to support the hospital authority.”
One of the items postponed may prove interesting: Brown said a group of officials and experts has reviewed all the county’s ordinances to identify any that are obsolete, conflict or need attention. Brown gave a provision requiring people to build bomb shelters as an example of a law that might have outlasted its usefulness.