The longtime goal of universal fire protection is moving rapidly with the Islands Fire Station now open and the county commissioners giving conceptual approval for a fire station and headquarters with other work at Miller Park.
County leaders have struggled for years to find an affordable way to deliver fire protection services as volunteer fire departments have declined. Miller Park, located on U.S. Highway 84 seven miles east of Hinesville is a central location and the county already owns property there. The park is near the intersection of Bill Carter Road and U.S. Highway 84.
The park now includes playground, picnic pavilion with sheltered seating for 25, restrooms, basketball court, softball field and a quarter-mile walking trail.
The commissioners heard from members and staff of the board of elections and registration who attended the midmonth commission session Thursday. Board Chair Linda Martin told the commissioners of the cramped and inadequate location of the board’s office space in the county’s Historic Courthouse.
A slide presentation illustrated the tight squeeze of election operations with meeting rooms, work space, the staff break room and other area crowded with stored voting equipment.
Martin said that with voting system that was previously used up until last year, a single machine could count votes. With the new system implemented by the state Martin said, “It takes six pieces of new equipment to count one vote.”
Martin told the commissioners of a visit to the Effingham County elections office and made some comparisons. Effingham County is a little larger than Liberty, she said. The Effingham elections office occupies 6,000 square feet and officials told Martin that they were out of space and were seeking to expand. Liberty County’s election office occupies about 3,000 square feet, Martin said.
Commission Chairman Donald Lovette complimented the group on their “awesome management of our elections” and suggested a committee be named to help find a new building. The committee will include Martin, Lovette, County Administrator Joey Brown and others.
County finance chief Kim McGlothlin reported that six months into the fiscal year the county has expended 50 percent of its budget: “So we’re right on target.”
The county has received 30 percent of its projected revenue; there are seasonal variations in county income. Revenue goes up in the January-February time frame from when tax bills are out.
McGlothlin reported that the county had an undesignated fund (reserve) balance equal to 2.8 months of operational expenses. Last fiscal year at this time the reserve was 2.5 months.
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