Toombs County Roads Get Striping with TSPLOST Funds
Citizens driving Toombs County roads will find safer road markings soon. Over 73 miles on 19 roadways are scheduled for striping by Mid-State Striping Company. At the March 16 meeting of the Toombs County Commission, County Manager John Jones requested approval for this final specific project under the 10-year TSPLOST program. The $216,628 project was approved by the Commissioners and will include improvement to roads such as 11.5 miles of Vidalia-Cedar Crossing Road, and 6 miles each on Marvin Church Road, Harden Chapel Road and Old River Road. Collection of TSPLOST taxes began in January 2012 and officially ends December 31 of this year. Besides the striping project, there are still some discretionary funds that the County can use for other transportation purposes.
EMS Director Drew James reported to the Commission that the grant received in November from the Georgia EMS Association is being used for a 48-hour course in basic life support and first aid for firefighters and law enforcement officers. This course will begin March 27 and is available at no cost to the students. Its purpose is to increase skills for assisting the EMS in trauma situations. James expressed appreciation to Toombs County Fire Rescue Chief Johnny Moser for the use of Station 8 for the class location, and for equipment, and to Jim Jones and Southeastern Technical College, also for equipment. Twenty-seven first responders are enrolled and the instruction will be led by Jonathan Holland.
New District Attorney Tripp Fitzner attended the Commission meeting to thank the Board for what they do for the DA offices and to give an update of operations. Since beginning in the position in January, Fitzner has staffed the office in Lyons with three attorneys, an investigator, a victim advocate, a secretary and a receptionist. The case load in Toombs warranted additional attorneys and staff.
For the first time in the DA’s office there will be experienced gang prosecutors. One prosecutor will be in each of three physical offices – in Lyons, Swainsboro and Tennille.
“Gangs don’t honor county lines, they move around,” Fitzner explained, “and it puts those three in a position to communicate regularly, and they do, and to give more intelligence about what’s going on and to send violent gang members to prison, which is what we want to do.”
Fitzner has also initiated a court-supervised and faith-based early intervention program for young people at risk of being seduced by drugs, gangs and violence. This initiative was reported in the February 17 edition of The Advance.
Later this year, the DA’s office will offer free classes on topics that the public has requested, such as selfdefense, the second amendment, concealed carry of weapons, and kids’ online safety. More topics can be added as feedback is given by the public. Appreciative of the update from the DA, Chairman David Sikes commented, “Tripp has hit the ground running and is doing a fantastic job. We are thankful to have you.”
In other County business, Jones reported that sales tax continues to be up for the year, compared to last year. Also, there will be a lot of moving parts of construction of county government buildings in the next 24 months. The area of the new Ross P. Bowen agricultural complex is being cleared on Bulldog Road, the jail and detention center will be getting a significant expansion and renovation, and renovation for the EMS/EMA building on Maple Drive is shaping up.
The new Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) building Lyons is getting ready for move-in on March 25. Jones and Sikes toured this new facility and Sikes said it is “really a nice building and obviously a lot larger than the existing building. I think it's a building that is going to get a lot of good use for the state here in the future. We’re fortunate to have it in our midst in the city of Lyons. I can’t thank our elected officials enough for being able to make that happen – it’s through their hard work and fruition of their labors that we’re able to have the new building.”
Board appointments approved were Sandra Williams to the Toombs County Board of Family and Children’s Services for a five-year term, and Mary Moon to the Toombs County Library Board for a three-year term.