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County awards and SPLOST projects

By Deanna Ryan

The Emanuel County Board of Commissioners met Monday, December 19, 2022 at 6:45 p.m. for their regularly scheduled meeting. Chairman Jim Sherrod and commissioners Hugh Foskey, Desse Davis, and James Canady were present along with county administrator Guy Singletary and county attorney Richard McNeely. Absent was Commissioner Keith Thompson. The Commission approved the minutes of the regular meeting on November 21st and the workshop meeting on December 14th.

According to administrator Singletary, the employees chosen for the Emanuel County Employee Appreciation Awards were selected based upon their years of dedicated service. Awards were presented to the following employees in each area of county government: County Clerk, Harriett Lawson, 45 years with the Board of Commissioners; Lisa Barwick, five years with Emanuel County 911; Justin Morris, five years with the Road Department; Phillip Morris, 15 years with the Road Department; Robert Radford, 10 years with the Road Department; Charles Harmon, five years on the General Government Building’s maintenance team; Travis Beach, five years at the Solid Waste Transfer Station; Cody Usry, Marty Mercer, Richard Reddish, Tanisha Rich, and Sarah Purvis, five years with the Swainsboro Sheriff’s Department and Emanuel County Jail; and Vanessa Coxwell, 15 consecutive years with the Tax Commissioner's Office (30 years with the Tax Commissioner's office).

The final recognition was presented to Commissioner James Ray Canady by Chairman Jim Sherrod for Canady’s dedicated service as a County Commissioner for District 5 from 2003 to 2014 and 2019 to 2022.

Commissioner Canady responded by saying, “Thanks for the ride!” and “I appreciate the opportunity this county has given me to serve. I truly have enjoyed it. I appreciate all of the people who work for Emanuel County. I truly love all of y’all.”

No old business was presented.

In new business, Singletary discussed the Motorola Emergency Communications Proposal and Financing. Singletary reminded the commissioners of the previous decision two months ago to adopt an agreement to purchase the console equipment for 911 to ensure all the equipment was installed by the time 911 moved into the new facility.

The county administrator then presented the language for the purchase and acquisition of the Emanuel County Emergency Communications System and Network provided through Motorola “that will allow us to partner with the Southeast Georgia Regional Radio Network (SEGARRN). He mentioned this was based on several years of planning and consulting with all public service agencies in Emanuel County” to consider the operational needs of each department. He reenforced the need for emergency radio communication by stating it isn’t “just pressing a button” to be heard. “It ain’t that simple. There are a lot of things that go into making work,” so the “right person hears you and the wrong person doesn’t.”

Last November’s election showed the emergency communications project was upheld by Emanuel County voters by a 5455-yes to 1595-no vote on the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) where it was the top listed purpose.

Regarding financing, Singletary noted, “We have worked out a really good agreement with Motorola. Their initial lease proposal was in the upper 3% range and to show how much they really want this project, they brought that down to 2.7% over a ten year period.”

The two motions to approve the Motorola Emergency Communications proposal and financing were both approved unanimously.

Commissioner Canady said, “Thanks to the people of Emanuel County for passing the SPLOST.”

Finally, Singletary presented a resolution requesting the creation of an Emanuel County Public Facilities Authority. He mentioned there were several other capital projects from SPLOST, the new administration complex being one of them along with looking into renovations or replacement of the jail. The creation of a Publics Facilities Authority would be to be prepared to flexibly finance these projects and have another tool in their toolbox to do this. He noted that public works authorities tend to get better interest rates on certain types of projects. He also pointed out that “it’s a no-loose situation. You can create it and never use it.” Attorney McNeely confirmed the authority would be a good tool for financing projects. Singletary asked the board to adopt the resolution to ask local legislators to introduce local legislation at the state level to create this authority on our behalf in which time if we need to use that authority for funding a particular project we would have that available to us when we need it. Motion was made and passed unanimously.

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