Long Countians will not get to watch their commissioners’ meetings live on Facebook, at least not for a while.
Commissioner Mike Riddle made a motion to broadcast the regular monthly meetings and his motion was seconded by Commissioner David Richardson. When votes were cast Riddle was the only yes; the other four commissioners voted no.
Riddle said the broadcasts would provide transparency for the commission by allowing constituents to actually see and hear their officials at work. Another reason, Riddle said, would be that, “there would be absolutely no reason for the press to err,” because the record would be available on Facebook for their review.
Commissioner Mike Phillips said he was not completely opposed to the idea and might reconsider it in the future. Commissioner Clifton DeLoach said the recordings would be one more thing the county would have to keep, file, etc.
That was only one of several split votes at the Dec. 3 meeting; another was the controversy over employees’ Christmas holidays. Christmas is on a Wednesday and Commission Chairman Robert Parker said county employees were asking to take Wednesday and Thursday as holidays. He also noted that “No one will come in Friday,” if Wednesday and Thursday were official holidays.
Parker made a motion to give county employees Friday as well as Wednesday and Thursday off as holidays. The motion passed 3-2 with Riddle and Richardson voting no and saying they favored the original schedule.
The commissioners granted extensions to actions they had taken in January to allow an Innovative Solar 90 electricity farm.
The conditional use permit and the waiver of some set back requirements are due to expire next month but the commission extended those deadlines to January 2021.
At the commissioners Jan. 8, 2019, hearing for the solar farm a number of citizens expressed concerns about the 140-acre site off Smith-Berry Road. Citizens at that meeting said they were worried about property values near solar farms and the possibility of hazardous materials being used in the project. No protests were heard at last week’s meeting.
The difficult issue of road maintenance was stirred when Commissioner David Richardson made a motion to pave Joe Kennedy Road in his district. Riddle seconded the motion but it failed with Richardson and Riddle voting yes and the other three commissioners voting no.
Riddle said the commission had drawn up short term and long term priory lists for county roads.He said the list had been followed for the last three years. Much of Long County’s road funding comes from the state Department of Transportation’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants. These go to all cities and counties and are based on the road mileage in each jurisdiction.
Commissioners discussed the possibilities of finding other sources for road funding.
Several motions on road maintenance were made and did not pass. At the end of that portion of the meeting the commission passed a motion to repair a stretch of Elim Church Road. This passed 3-2 with Parker and Richardson voting no.
LMIG funds are designated for the Elim Church Road project and if any remains it will spent on Rye Patch Road.
Parker can be contacted via email at email@example.com.