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By Robin Ford Wallace


Besides dealing with public inquiry into the matter of its payroll clerk, the commission also handled more routine business on Thursday evening, including hearing a presentation from Dade’s Emergency Services Director Alex Case on the need for a revised hazard mitigation plan for the county. 

Case said without an updated plan Dade did not qualify for certain federal funds. The Commission approved a proclamation allowing the development of such a plan.

It also approved a Lions Club resolution proclaiming March 10-16 Save Your Vision Week, and two allocations of SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds for equipment purchases by the Dade County Library, which County Clerk Don Townsend specified were well within the library’s budget.

Both Clerk Townsend and District 3 Commissioner Robert Goff reported in financial news that sales tax revenues were way down. “You’d have to go back to October 2009 to find where they’d been as low,” said Goff. 

Townsend said he’d prepared worksheets for setting the county’s 2014 budget and that meetings would begin in the process later this month and in April. “It’s that time of year,” he said.

District 2 Commissioner Scottie Pittman was away on a work assignment, and District 1’s Mitchell Smith had little to report this month. Neither did Dade’s newest commissioner, Allan Bradford of District 4, but he said he was working on that.

“I’ve made several calls trying to get rid of our glass,” said the newly-elected Bradford, whose assignment to the transfer station committee meant that his first public report, made in February, was devoted to dealing with the county’s admission it had been dumping recyclers’ carefully sorted glass into the landfill.

Dade had decided to give up recycling glass as financially unfeasible an unspecified length of time before but had neglected to mention this to the recycling public, and had left the glass recycling bins misleadingly in situ.  It has since been removed. 

But Bradford’s message was one of hope for would-be recyclers: “I haven’t given up ” he said.

Chairman Rumley in his own report thanked Georgia Power for responding so quickly last week when a fallen tree caused widespread power outages throughout Rising Fawn. “I just want to tell those people we appreciate them,” he said.

He said that the state was still examining places to put its planned driver’s license facility in Dade and that he had just signed off on a new survey of one potential site, that of the old Georgia Forestry Commission office, which was destroyed by an April 2011 tornado. “If that’s where they want to go, that would be great,” said Rumley.

And he read off a monthly bill for the new jail kitchen:  $16,798. “This month last year, we were way over double that,” he said. He said he had received no complaints about the food and had eaten there himself.

Rumley also said the county would be able to begin hauling materials from its new chert pit by next month.  He also said the county had been trying to close its old landfill for years and hoped to be able to do so shortly, though right now there was still a small trace of cobalt showing up in water from a test well. “Maybe by midsummer we’ll be able to bring you some good news,” he said.

Rumley mentioned that the regional 4-H skeet tournament will be held in Dade County this year. “We’re getting all fired up over it,” he said, though whether or not intending a pun was unclear.

He invited Katie Hammond, Dade’s new county agent, to elaborate, and she told the audience the district meet would be on April 20 and would include 40 to 50 shooters from around region. “The kids are thrilled to death we’re having it,” she said. 

She said she’d had a lot of support from the community but was still in the market for skeet throwers.  Interested parties may reach her at (706) 657-4116.

Debbie Tinker, executive director of the Dade Chamber of Commerce, said April 20 was also the date for the C of C’s annual banquet, which will be held in the New Salem Community Center from 6-9 p.m.  Tickets are $20 and the theme this year is “Dade Dynasty,” from the reality show Duck Dynasty, with a costume motif of “camouflage and lace.” 

Ms. Tinker also put out an impassioned plea for volunteers to help judge Project Synergy’s March 20 competition – that’s next Wednesday morning, and Ms. Tinker said she needs 20 judges. The Chamber may be reached at (706) 657-4488.

Tom Black, Dade’s representative on the regional mental health board, gave a grim report of diminished services available since the closure of the Rome Regional Hospital. “The bad news, guys, is it ain’t coming back,” he said.

He said the state had a long waiting list for mental health services – “There’s just no money” – but nevertheless urged the public to call him to report instances where help was needed but not delivered.  Black may be reached at (423) 718-1725.

An audience member asked Black whether the Trenton Place apartments, built by Volunteers of America for the developmentally disabled, continued to sit half empty because of a bureaucratic snarl. Black addressed the subject briefly, blaming the federal government, and Summer Kelley added comments more to the effect of blaming the state government. But the answer in both cases was: Yes, Trenton Place continues to sit half empty.

On the other hand, the Sentinel received news just before press time that there may shortly be better news on that front.

From the Dade County Library, Marshana Sharp invited all for free popcorn and a movie at the library this Tuesday, March 19, at 5:15, courtesy of Krystal, and free classes in Microsoft Excel and hand quilting on the 26th.

Donna Street, president of Friends of the Library, took the occasion as an opportunity to issue formal invitations to the commissioners to a March 22 dinner the library is hosting to bring together the three funding agencies that determine its fate. As it stands, the library is funded only through the end of its fiscal year in June.  “We really all need to be in a room together at the same time,” she said.

Ms. Street also invited the public to a Dade County Historical Society field trip to the county’s abandoned coke ovens on March 30 (see accompanying article).

County Attorney Robin Rogers reported that there had been nothing new on Dade’s legal front.

The next scheduled meeting of the Dade County Commission is set for April 4.

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