Potholes and other infrastructure problems dominated much of the conversation at last week’s work session. It appeared that Midway officials were open to input from citizens on public works and would hold either a town hall session or some other kind of public meeting to include that topic.
Midway Mayor Levern Clancy Jr. previously told the Courier city officials intend to hold a public meeting for citizens to discuss proposed fire services, but a date for a meeting has not been set.
County Commissioner Marion Stevens, who represents Midway and much of East Liberty, briefed the council on the intergovernmental agreement between the county and Midway. He said that the agreement provided mostly for repairing potholes and some grading but did not include much other work.
Councilwoman Melice Gerace said that when crush and run gravel is spread on dirt roads sometimes when the road is bladed much of the gravel winds up in the roadside ditch: “As far as I can see that’s a waste of that gravel.” She said Lake Shore Drive was an example of this.
Stevens said there was a state law, O.C.G.A. 32-4-91, which council members should read. The law gives authority and responsibility for municipal street systems to each city.
Stevens told the council that the county was trying to obtain the asphalt removed from I-95 in the current milling operation on that highway. The recycled asphalt paving can be used to improve dirt roads.
In other business the council heard from Public Safety Director Mike Hodges and County Fire Chief Bryan Darby who explained the status of firefighting and fire equipment. As the county proposes moving toward complete countywide fire protection, firetrucks purchased with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds are being turned over to the volunteer fire departments where they were assigned.
In reply to a question from Councilwoman Dr. Clemontine Washington, Darby said that the vehicles had recently been serviced and were being transferred in good condition.
Midway will now be responsible for firetruck maintenance and will continue to purchase fuel at the county shop.
Hodges said the proposed countywide fire protection plan would be implemented in two parts. The first part is hiring of temporary firefighters able to respond to fire calls during business hours.
Daytime fires are a problem because many volunteer firefighters have regular jobs and are not available during working hours. The new county firefighters would fill this gap, according to county officials.
Hodges said, “There is a fairly large amount of calls that have gone unanswered.”
Midway Fire Chief Terrell Chipp said he had 15 volunteers but that most of them had daytime jobs, many of them in Chatham County, and could not respond to calls during working hours.
The second part of the county’s proposed plan would include professional firefighters on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They would work at stations throughout the county. A fire protection fee is proposed to pay for the recommended full time professional coverage.
Parker can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.