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Record Number of EMS Calls Take a Toll on Equipment

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During the October 19 session of the Toombs County Commission, Emergency Services (EMS) Director Drew James told County Commissioners that August was a record month for EMS calls; and now that activities have decreased, the focus needs to shift to servicing and maintaining equipment. James related that ambulances were busy responding to calls for service during the height of the third wave of the COVID- 19 pandemic and for other emergencies, and this took a toll on equipment. During its October session, the Commission agreed to pay Striker ProCare Services for annual maintenance on 5 power stretchers and 4 Life-Pack heart monitors for the ambulances and paramedics. These services were previously provided by Striker, making this contract of maintenance a renewal rather than a new agreement.

To perform maintenance on the stretchers, the Commission will pay Striker $6,590 out of the EMS funding; the maintenance on the heart monitor packs will cost $7,920, which will also be paid out of the EMS funding. James said things are beginning to return normalize as the COVID-19 pandemic has abated. He said the EMS Department is resuming a lot of routine activities, including hosting the EMS Youth Academy in December in the department’s new facility. More details about this Academy will be shared closer to the event.

Election Upkeep

Ahead of the November 2 elections, the Commissioners ratified election agreements between the Toombs County Board of Commissioners and the cities of Lyons and Vidalia to allow the Toombs County Board of Elections to conduct all elections within the cities and county for the next three years.

These election agreements were previously approved by the Vidalia and Lyons City Councils. According to the agreements, the Toombs County Board of Elections will receive payment to fund equipment and workers’ compensation in exchange for their services, including hiring poll workers, conducting the election, and filing any ethics certifications for candidates.

Because of the new voting machines, which were first used in the 2020 Presidential Primary and General Elections, the Commission has sought to pay the machine manufacturer $12,920 for the routine maintenance on the devices. These machines require this upkeep annually. The first year’s maintenance was covered financially by the State, but this year’s cost of service will be paid for through the Board of Elections budget. A total of 69 machines will be serviced.

Landfill Bond

Commissioners unanimously approved a revenue bond to help pay for construction of the remaining municipal waste/ solid waste cells at the county landfill. The bond will cover the cost of adding 5 waste cells, enumerated cells 2025, which cover around 12 acres, as well as an estimated 27 acres for a new construction and demolition landfill.

The Commission owes $950,000 on an old bond for construction to provide more space for waste. Commissioners accepted a $5 million bond from Ameris Bank to pay off the old bond and to complete the current project.

Vehicle Affairs

Commissioners approved the declaration of two law enforcement vehicles and three fire department brush trucks as excess property to be disposed of through a sealed bid sale. The law enforcement vehicles are a 2014 Ford F-150 and a Dodge Charger, both of which have over 165,000 miles. The brush trucks to be disposed of have been out of service for a long time and are in storage. The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-350, and 1979 GMC pumper truck have high mileage. Commissioners considered moving the trucks to another department, but after discussion, came to the conclusion that the County has no need for them. The Commission approved the purchase of a Ford Maverick from Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln for use by the tax assessor. This vehicle will be used for travel throughout the county for property assessment. The Toombs County Tax Assessor has two trucks that are used for the assessments. Both of these vehicles are well worn, but the air conditioning unit in one truck recently broke, making the need for a replacement urgent.

After hearing the price of the vehicle, which totaled $20,661, Commissioner Darriel Nobles suggested replacing the second tax assessor’s vehicle with an identical truck to ensure reliable transportation and to promote unity. Commissioners voted unanimously to give management the authority to request another vehicle for the same price and to purchase that vehicle if the price is matched.

Other Business

The Commission approved the purchase of an updated computer system from Harris Computer for the County Tax Commissioner. Harris Computer will provide the system for a cost of $12,920, which will be covered by SPLOST.

The agreement between Southern Correctional Medicine and the Toombs County Commission was renewed to provide medical services to the Toombs County Detention Center. This three-year agreement remains the same except for increasing the amount of inmates covered by the services, as well as more specifically outlining services provided.

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