During a called meeting Wednesday, the Upson County Board of Commissioners voted to approve the 2013 budget in the amount of $13,815,815. The figure for the coming year is slightly higher than the 2012 budget, which was $13, 594,500. The increase is due to the fact the board decided to give all full-time county employees a 2.5 percent raise for next year and the state mandated salary increases for constitutional officers. Chairman Maurice Raines thanked the board for all of their hard work for keeping the budget low and without a tax increase. “You have all done a great job,” he stated.
Also during the meeting, Commissioner Steve Hudson told the board he has done some preliminary sketches for the overlook area at Sprewell Bluff. The plan, which will use the $100,000 designated from SPLOST funds, includes a building as well as a deck that overlooks the river. Hudson noted the idea for the building is to have men’s and women’s restroom facilities, as well as a large open room for sitting and possibly a museum about the history of Sprewell Bluff. Once completed, the new structure would be operated by volunteers to help cut down on the possibility of vandalism to the property.
Commissioner Ralph Ellington updated the board on the Early Warning System program. The next step is to begin training emergency personnel to use the system, however the contract with Everbridge allows for only one day of training. Ellington stated there is no way that all of the E-911 employees could be trained in a day due to the different shifts they work and asked the board to approve adding a day of training, which would cost $2,500. The rest of the commissioners agreed that two days would be needed and approved the motion of paying for an extra day unanimously.
In other business, Commissioner Ellington was named Vice Chair of the Board for 2013; County Manager Jim Wheeless was selected to be the Legislative coordinator for the county with ACCG and the board voted to allow a one year contract for County Extension Agent Wes Smith to cover both Upson and Lamar counties, due to the fact Lamar County has been without an agent for the last two years.