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Long panel asked for raises, more room for court
MR Long CommissSept
Long County commissioners listen to requests from department heads at Tuesday’s meeting. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
Long County Clerk of Superior Court Frank Middleton appeared before the Long County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, requesting several items.
One area of concern was the current courtroom not having emergency lighting, and the safety concerns should the lights go out during evening court.
“We can have as many as 140 people in the courtroom at one time, and if the power was to go out one evening with all those people in there it could be a real problem,” Middleton said.
He also asked commissioners to consider allowing him use an old office in the courthouse and make a second courtroom, to be used as needed. According to the clerk, if this were approved, the courtroom would be ready to use in October.
Middleton also informed commissioners that his office was being stretched in regards to the workload, and that he wanted them to know he would be requesting an additional employee for the upcoming year. He also said he needed additional vault space, and asked them to consider building an extension onto the current vault.
“I know several of these requests you will have to mull over, but I really would like you to consider the lighting for safety reasons,” Middleton said.
The commissioners approved the use of the office for a second courtroom, and informed him that the other requests would be looked into.
Recreation Department head Shawn Mills also came before the commissioners asking to buy a lawn mower and requesting that the budget for the department be changed for the upcoming year.
According to Mills, the cost of upkeep for the recreation area is $739 per month for ten months, paying someone to do the work.
“It cost $7,390 a year to pay someone. If we can purchase a lawn mower, and I do the work, we can save some of that money and put it back into the program,” he said.
According to Mills, the mower that he was looking at would cost $341 per month for 36 months.
Commissioner Charles Reddish asked how long the mower would last, and Mills said that according to other recreation departments, the estimated time would be around seven years.
Mills also requested that the budget for his department be changed from having to go through the commissioners, to being supplemented for the allotted funds.
County Commission Chairman Randy Wilson said, “I don’t think we can do that. We had it like that before, but had to change it. We will have to check with our auditor, but I’m not sure we can do that.”
Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles appeared before commissioners, with members from his department regarding pay.
Nobles has, in recent months asked commissioners for raises for the department, and commissioners had informed him to submit his recommendations for pay in his budget request for the upcoming year.
“My men can’t make it on what they are being paid, and they are here to find out when they can expect a raise,” the sheriff said.
Wilson informed the group that there had been no discussions of raises for the upcoming year, but that Commissioner Mike McGowan had been working on a system of pay that would be better than the existing method. He also said a budget work session would be scheduled soon and if any increases in pay were established they would take effect in January.
McGowan said, “We are looking at a system which would take into account employees’ longevity and what duties they do. We are trying to take some of the ambiguity out of it, and establish a fair system.”
Commissioner Tony Fowler brought up an issue involving the Griffin Ridge Wildlife Management Area regarding a gate and access to the land.
“There is a gate to the hunting area, and if a handicap person wants to get in there, they can’t do it, and it’s not right. Something needs to be done,” he said.
According to Fowler the gate is managed by the state Department of Natural Resources. Commissioners decided to ask DNR to move the gate to a more appropriate location.
Code Enforcement Officer John Bradley made his monthly report and said seven building permits and nine relocation permits had been sold in August. He also said five final inspections had been made, nine new homes sold, and that there were 128 building permits currently open. For the year, 73 new homes had been sold.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved the extension of the current contract with Sullivan Environmental Co. for five years to continue solid waste disposal.
• Reported that Code Enforcement Office Manager Michelle Poppell was trying to schedule training for the members of the planning and zoning committee.
• Approved Marvin Leggett, Betty Smiley and Joseph Sullivan to continue serving on the library board.
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