Courthouse Renovation Bids Discussed at Aug. County Commission Meeting

August 8, 2017

The historic Dade County courthouse more than a year ago. The county is awaiting renovation bids so work can get started.


Thursday’s regular August meeting of the Dade County Commission was short on drama, short on agenda items and in fact just plain short. The lightness of content was perhaps owing to the fact it followed a series of summer hearings and special called meetings finalizing the commission’s fiscal year 2018 budget, then millage rate, which Executive Chairman Ted Rumley characterized as “always a stressful time.” The Aug. 3 meeting was less so.


County Clerk Don Townsend reported he’s hoping for at least one more bid for remodeling work on the historic county courthouse. Cutoff date for bidding was Monday, July 31. Townsend said he’d originally had only one bid, from builder Jeff McBryar, and he’d extended the deadline hoping for another to compare it to. Jamey Blevins has since submitted a bid, but McBryar meanwhile has withdrawn his. “Now I’m back to one bid,” said Townsend.


Townsend said he hadn’t opened the bid he’s got as he awaits another one, hoping McBryar will perhaps try again. “It’s good to have at least two, hopefully three,” he said, questioned later. Meanwhile, though, completion of the courthouse recedes further into the mists. The commission had initially hoped to get the courthouse work done by January. That’s not likely now, said Townsend.


Townsend said the work would be done in phases, but Phase 1 can get underway as soon as a bid is accepted and a contract awarded.


The West Brow volunteer fire department asked the commission for SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds to replace a fire truck. The truck West Brow has its eye on is a 2007 model that will cost around $60,000, offset by perhaps $20- to $25,000 the department can hope to get for its old one. Chairman Rumley's answer: Try Again Later. Things are tight, said the Boss, asking West Brow to get the old truck looked at by the county maintenance barn to “buy us some time.” The matter of the new truck will be taken back up later.


The commission voted to designate as surplus and sell at auction a 2013 Ford Explorer and 2011 Crown Victoria police cruiser belonging to the Sheriff’s Department.


The commission accepted the resignation of Dora Crisp from the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and appointed Sharon Moore to serve out her unexpired term, which runs through the end of 2018. Ginnie Sams has stepped down from governing board of the Dade County Public Library. The commission appointed Tad Evearitt to take her place.


The commissioners approved the opening of a new county checking account after County Clerk Townsend explained Dade needed one that would allow for automatic clearinghouse deposits in order to accept money coming from the state. Georgia prefers to transfer money electronically, explained the clerk.


District 1 Commissioner Mitchell Smith warned residents of the Slygo Road-Dugan’s Loop area that work is beginning replacing utility poles in the area. District 2’s Scottie Pittman said football and soccer have started back up at the Four Fields athletic complex and the ballfields are being groomed and maintained for the new season. District 3 Commissioner Robert Goff reported that SPLOST revenues are up compared to last month but down from last year. District 4’s Allan Bradford said the previous Sunday’s apres-church dinner at the New Salem Community Center had raised $2800 for the volunteer fire department, and added that the county transfer station had processed 620 tons of garbage in July.


New Dade soil conservationist Steve Bontekoe noted that his predecessor, Joe Lee, had died--readers may find the obituary on The Planet’s home page--but invited local farmers to come and check out agricultural programs that may benefit them. “We’re continuing the work that Joe started,” said Bontekoe. “Come see me.”


County boss Rumley reported that progress was finally being made in Dade’s all-the-livelong-day struggles with the railroad. Norfolk Southern--which the county complains constantly blocks vital Dade crossings with stopped trains--seems to be entering a more conciliatory phase and has even agreed to reimburse Dade for work done some time ago to close off the Lambert Lane crossing in Rising Fawn.


Rumley also updated the audience on road work on New Home. After intensive seven-day workweeks, said the Boss, the road should be graveled this week. “We won’t pave it probably until next spring,” he said.


Rumley also mentioned that Spectrum/Charter had just been granted permission to offer wireless service in Dade County. The Planet’s requests for more information from that company have so far borne no fruit.


Marshana Sharp, manager of the Dade County Public Library, passed out rare and coveted copies of Captured: A Photo History of Dade County to the commissioners. This is a book version of last spring’s exhibition of ​​resident-contributed photographs of the county. The library published the handsome coffee-table pictorial history inhouse, using equipment it got through a grant. Ms. Sharp urges those who want a copy to call and order,

then wait as the library catches up with orders--(706) 757-7857.​​


The Dade County Commission meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. The next meeting is Sept. 7.

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