After several years of trying to work out an ordinance and subsequent sign distribution for a house numbering policy for the unincorporated areas of the Upson County, the county commissioners are one step closer to having it complete. At their regular meeting held on June 10, Commissioner Ralph Ellington told the board of an agreement that had been drawn up for the local volunteer fire departments to purchase the signs up front and then sell them back to the citizens at a predetermined price, which would clear up the issue of how the citizens would get their signs. The board approved the agreement with a 3-1 vote, with Chairman Rusty Blackston voting against the matter stating he had some reservations, but did not care to elaborate as to what they were until he spoke with the county attorney. Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder was not present at the meeting.
Commissioner Ellington told the rest of the board that this agreement with the VFDs will not only help distribute the signs in a cost effective manner, it will also give the volunteers a chance to meet residents in their area, talk up the fire departments and potentially pick up a few more paying customers.
“This is not going to be a money making venture for the volunteers, but it is a way to get them out in the communities and to get the people in the communities more familiar with the volunteers,” said Ellington.
However, he noted if a person wished for the VFD’s to put their sign up for them, he is sure they would be happy to do so in exchange for a donation to the fire department.
“We think it is a good program and we think it is a positive program for everyone involved,” said Ellington.
In other business, the board heard from Robert Hiett of Three Rivers Regional Commission on the matter of the transit contract Upson County has with the entity. Hiett stated Upson is one of five counties who take part in the regional transit plan, of which Upson County contributes four vehicles to the regional fleet. The portion of the contract that raised some concern dealt with the replacing of several vehicles and what the costs of that would be to the county.
Hiett told the commissioners two vehicles were replaced last year, one will be replaced this year and one next year, to ensure that each one is reliable. He noted he does not recommend a vehicle for replacement unless it is over a certain number of years old or has over a certain number of miles on it. The bus to be replaced this year is the bus which is used for the Upson County Senior Center which he stated is a 2009 model with well over 100,000 miles on it. Hiett also noted Three Rivers Regional Commission has been able to leverage more state and federal funding since 2007 and they try to be as efficient as possible when asking from the counties in the region. Chairman Blackston told Hiett the board would be looking over the budget request and getting back with an answer soon.
During the comments from portion of the meeting, County Manager Jim Wheeless told the board he is working with County Attorney Paschal English to draw up the ordinance for liquor by the drink sales in the county. He noted he had recently received a copy of the City of Thomaston’s ordinance and would have the county’s mirror that of the city since that is what the commissioners had requested.
Wheeless also stated there had been several requests made by citizens for there to be a POW flag flying at the courthouse and the Government Complex. He is looking into getting one and will have it up soon.
He also made a note about the agreement Upson County now has with the City of Thomaston on the issue of animal control. Per the agreement, city residents will no longer pay taxes on the animal shelter, that cost will be covered by residents in the unincorporated areas of the county. However, there will be a $40 charge per animal for the City of Thomaston to bring it to the Upson County Animal Shelter. That fee will also apply to city residents surrendering an animal to the shelter.
Commissioner Steve Hudson told the board he had checked on the contract with Georgia Asphalt to complete the paving of Hendricks Church Road by the end of July. Hudson stated the company had told him they were planning to move in July 5 to being paving, which should allow for all to be finished by the end of July.
Finally, the board approved Mike Raines to serve on the Upson County Planning Commission board. The vacancy was left earlier this year when former Planning Commission Chairman Sydney Beech resigned from his position on the board.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1