By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
Anybody in the market for an old ambulance, or possibly a 1984 four-by-four, Chevy pickup truck? If so, you may be interested to learn that the Dade County Commission at its Thursday night meeting approved adding these items to its auction list, available for bids at www.publicsurplus.com.
The commission’s regular August meeting was another sleepy summer session with little on the agenda to outshine County Clerk Don Townsend’s reading of the items to be put out for sale, including elderly vehicles and some tires – “Such a deal,” said Townsend – at $100 for the set. They join other memorabilia already listed such as a dual cassette player/recorder and Radio Shack microphone mixer. “It’s just some stuff that’s in the way and needs to be moved,” said Townsend.
Readers interested in snapping up a bargain can start from the home page cited above, simply Google “public surplus Dade GA” to go directly to Dade’s list, or call Townsend at (706) 657-4625.
With all commissioners present, and newly-elected District 4 Commissioner-to-be Allan Bradford in the audience, the commission also voted to approve $8,000 in special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) funds to repair the West Brow volunteer fire department’s ladder truck, with the provision that the department is able to pay for the rest of the estimated $20,000 fix. County Attorney Robin Rogers explained that SPLOST funds may not generally be used for repairs but that this was an extraordinary or major one and qualified.
Other business was largely routine. Commissioners approved wording changes to the county employee handbook pertaining to lunch breaks and terminations. County Executive and Commission Chairman Ted Rumley said the commission would be reviewing the handbook in increments in coming months and asked the other commissioners to point out passages they had questions about so that the county attorney could have a look.
The county attorney had had a look at Dade’s existing ordinance regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages and recommended wording changes in it, too, to reflect a recent change in fees. “This is a kind of housekeeping measure,” he said. The commission approved the change.
It also approved a budget amendment recommended by Clerk Townsend, who explained that it was rare to require one so early in the fiscal year but that he had had to add an expense on the minus side of the budget which was covered by reimbursement from the state on the plus side. “The net difference is zero,” he said.
The commission approved as it does every year an agreement with the Agency on Aging for continuation of its meals-on-wheels program and – also as it does every year – an application for a federal grant to continue its $15,600 supplement toward the salary of soil conservationist Joe Lee.
Three agenda items, all having to do with an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Trenton concerning an excise tax on the “sale, use, storage or consumption of energy,” the commission decided to table pending further examination.
“This is actually giving up authority to levy a tax,” said Chairman Rumley. He said it might involve considerable potential revenue. “We need to really investigate this,” he said. Attorney Rogers said the matter must be dealt with by Jan. 1.
The commission proclaimed August National Immunization Awareness Month and Aug. 5-11 Primary Health Care Center Week.
During the business portion of the meeting, District 1 Commissioner Mitchell Smith used his monthly report time to give a rundown of July’s 911 calls. District 2’s Scottie Pittman used his to remind citizens to vote in the upcoming primary runoffs on Aug. 21. “Get out and vote again. Make your voice heard in Dade County,” he said.
District 3’s Robert Goff discussed the transportation special local option sales tax, or TSPLOST, which was a referendum issue in the July 31 primary. Dade carried the initiative but it failed in the region as a whole, which Goff said leaves Dade exactly nowhere. “I thought maybe they’d give us a carrot or something but it didn’t happen,” he said.
With perhaps a note of sadness, Peter Cervelli of District 4 congratulated Allan Bradford for ousting him in the July 31 primary – “That’s what elections are all about.” – before moving on to financials, which he described as reasonably hopeful as Dade closes out the 2012 fiscal year at some $107,000 in the negative. “We’re going to have to deal with taking a little bit out of our fund balance, but not as much as we expected,” he said.
Chairman Rumley’s monthly report was chatty and positive: The Southeast Lineman Training Center, he said, was growing from an average of about 130 students to a projected 160, and had bought additional property for its expansion. That, he said, would be a good thing for Dade.
Additionally, the county’s new jail kitchen, predicted to cut Dade’s inmate meal bill in half, served its first meal last week, said Rumley. He pronounced the food good.
Rumley pointed out that the Georgia Forestry Commission had moved into its new building by the athletic fields on Highway 11 South, which replaces the one destroyed on April 27, 2011. “That’s something we fought to keep here in the county after the tornado,” he said.
And he said that Dade’s designated public hospital, Erlanger at Hutcheson, though still not showing a profit, had whittled down its monthly loss number to around $170,000. “We’re going in the right direction,” he said.
He said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp had dropped in on the Dade County Board of Elections during his visit to the county Chamber of Commerce. “I think they almost had a heart attack,” he said.
Rumley also said he’d attended a ribbon-cutting at D&B Custom Powder Coating last week, commemorating an expansion that should bring about 15 new jobs to town. “We’re kind of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Speaking for the Dade County Chamber of Commerce, Debbie Tinker reminded the audience that the annual Duck Race Social benefit is Sept. 15 at the R-Haven Park on Highway 11 South. Tickets are $5 per duck or $25 for a duck in all five “heats.”
And Commissioner Robert Goff commemorated the recent death of former Dade sole commissioner Doug Miller, who Chairman Rumley recalled served beginning in 1972 or ‘3.
The next regular meeting of the Dade County Commission is scheduled for Sept. 6.