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Commission bringing back Keep Emanuel Beautiful initiative

The Emanuel County Board of Commissioners met Monday night and had a hearty discussion centered around one issue that constantly plagues the community: litter.

Despite being the last item on the agenda, this discussion was the most engaging one of the evening with nearly every commissioner attesting to the issue. The most important takeaway from this talk was the county commission’s restarting a beautification project from years prior called Keep Emanuel Beautiful.

In addition to this, the board of commissioners addressed numerous vacancies existing on public service boards. By the end of the evening, two of those capacities had new appointees.

In regard to the Keep Emanuel Beautiful discussion, Chairman Jim Sherrod had the most to say. However, he lended the floor to County Administrator Guy Singletary to lead the way with the opening.

As part of his spiel, Singletary called attention to the heavy financial burden presented by the clean-up of litter around the county.

Reportedly, the County of Emanuel spends approximately $60,000 per pass every few months on tidying trash.

In addition, the amount of litter strewn across the county is visually displeasing and, as a general statement on behalf of the commission, communicates a message of lack of community pride.

The Keep Emanuel Beautiful campaign existed years ago and dissolved, but Sherrod says there has been an avid and apparent interest from numerous citizens about the issue, prompting the commission to renew its interest in heading up the project again.

This board will need community-minded citizens to volunteer their time to contribute ideas about how to address the litter problem. A limit is not expected to be set on the number of people who may serve on Keep Emanuel Beautiful.

Both Singletary and Sherrod delivered passionate comments about this subject matter, stressing the importance of breathing new life into the campaign and urging citizens who read this story to help with the effort comprehensively—from communicating with others about the litter problem to raise awareness and hopefully affect change all the way to getting involved when the program is up and running again.

Commissioner James R. Canady previously served on Keep Emanuel Beautiful when it was running before, and he, like the rest of the commissioners, is eager to see its return. He mentioned a specific strategy he had in mind—working with the local schools to hopefully reach more people. The hope is the students will pass on their newly-instilled knowledge about litter prevention and having community pride to the adults surrounding them, which will, in turn, alleviate the trash.

Citizens should note most of the discussion was preliminary in nature; no specific details about the restart were finalized Monday night. However, the board anticipates such information to coincide with the Pine Tree Festival.

In regard to the board vacancies, Emanuel County’s commissioners approved the reappointment of Wade Johnson and a recommendation from the City of Swainsboro (by way of a council vote earlier this month) to add Cason DeVane to the Joint Development Authority.

These two pieces of action saw two different motions, seconds, and votes but were unanimously approved.

Additionally, the board of commissioners adopted a resolution to appoint Darryl Grey to the tax assessor’s board.

This, too, was handled with a motion, second, and approving unanimous vote separate from the other board vacancy actions.

The commissioners also unanimously approved minutes from previous meetings.

These minutes pertained to a regular convention on January 18, a workshop meeting on January 28, a workshop meeting on February 2, and a special called workshop meeting on February 17.

The commissioners took action on two different projects before adjourning Monday night.

Specifically, with Singletary opening the discussions, the board addressed roof repairs at the Emanuel County Jail and a repair to the elevator at the Coleman Hotel.

Both of these buildings, Singletary informed the assembled, have all but used their useful lives. However, the county aims to continue utilizing each facility as long as possible, and these repairs will allow that continuance to go on longer.

The jail roof has been patched numerous times and reportedly needs replacing altogether. Hearing this, the commission approved the spending of $196,000 for that purpose. Bonnetts, who has done four similar projects and is in town now for other renovations, was given the contract with the approval. Commissioner Hugh Foskey inquired about the necessity to bid out a project of this nature, and County Attorney Richard McNeely informed the group that, according to the county’s bylaws, this was not a requirement. Singletary did state the project’s price came in comparably to like undertakings from Bonnetts.

The Coleman Hotel elevator improvement came with a $37,000 price tag and was the cheapest option presented to the county.

Having no further business to tend to, the board of commission unanimously voted to adjourn. The next county meeting will be held Monday, March 21, at 6 p.m. inside the commissioners’ board room in the Coleman Hotel.

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