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Toombs Commission Names Vice-Chair, Makes Board and Committee Appointments

Toombs County Commission Chairman David Sikes opened the first meeting of the year with the annual rotation to a new vice chairman. Commissioner Alfred Cason was appointed and welcomed to that position.

Sikes commented about the outgoing vicechair, “We had Mr. Darriel Nobles as our vice chairman under the most tumultuous year in our history. I would like to thank you for a wonderful job and look forward to the next time you do it, sir.” Sikes also requested that since last year’s committees were not able to complete their duties, that the committee assignments remain the same for 2021. These positions will be: Roads and Bridges – Nobles and Cason; Recreation – Cason and Wendell Dixon; Landfill – Nobles and Tommy Rollins; Public Safety – Cason and Dixon; Finance and Accounting – Dixon and Rollins; Policy and Procedures – Rollins and Nobles. The committee assignments were approved. Trash on county roads is a recurring problem and plans for a clean-up campaign were stalled during the pandemic, as was the availability of prisoners to do trash pickup. Sikes asked County Manager John Jones to identify key areas in the county that need clean up and temporary help will be utilized until prison help can return.

EMS Director Drew James gave a recap of a busy 2020: there were 7571 calls last year. As a comparison, 7152 calls were made in 2019, and James looked back to 2009, during which 5200 calls were made. Recent positive COVID-19 patient contact has been up to 5 or 6 per day. With the COVID needs and the general increase in EMS needs, James’ goal is to increase recruitment in 2021.

The Toombs EMS has been awarded a grant for a First Responder Class. All local firefighters and law enforcement will be able to get Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certification and will be able to support the EMTs during severe calls. This class is scheduled to begin in March. Jones requested approval of an Inter-Governmental Agreement that has been entered with the City of Lyons. In this agreement, the County has given the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) building, located between the Ross Bowen building and the Sheriff’s Department, to the City. The City will dismantle the building and reinstall it in the city limits to be used for the Lyons Fire Station.

For receipt of the EMA building, valued at $500,000, the City will agree to house the Tombs County fire and rescue truck, which is fitted with extrication equipment, at this building. The estimated cost for the City to move and rebuild the building is $390,000. The agreement is for 25 years. The City is required to give the County a 365-day notice if they choose to end the agreement of housing the County fire truck. The Commission approved this agreement.

Civil Works Contracting is expected to start work on the new EMS/ EMA building by the end of January, with planned completion by September. The start of construction on the Ross Bowen building and the new courthouse is running close to schedule.

In other business, Commissioners approved the following appointments: Willis NeSmith, Reid McArthur and Larry Threlkeld to the Hospital Authority; Mike Holland and Randy Usher to the Board of Assessors; and Rebekah Arnold to the Library Board.

The following businesses requesting alcohol license renewals for 2021, and found to be in compliance with ordinances, were approved for licenses: Jani’s Mart, Normantown Grocery, Big Ma’s, Frank’s Country Club, John’s Country Junction, and Benton Lee’s Steakhouse.

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