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Probate Judge Concerned About Gun Permits Ruling

Toombs County Probate Judge Tina S. Lindsey addressed the Toombs County Commission on December 21 concerning the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding a Georgia Probate Judge’s ability to deny concealed weapons carry licensures.

Judge Lindsey informed the Commission that she had been made aware that the Supreme Court had ruled on December 14 that Probate Judges may not deny a weapons li­continued from page

cense applicant based on lack of information regarding the disposition of a crime that may have otherwise prohibited licensure.

This decision came after Dekalb County Resident Clinton Bell was denied a weapons carry permit by Dekalb County Probate Judge Bedelia Hargrove based upon an incident from 1986 found in Bell’s criminal background check. During this incident, Bell had pointed a gun at another individual. There was no report of the disposition from this situation, meaning the status of the case was never completed by the court. Thus, Judge Hargrove felt she could not approve this licensure.

“The Supreme Court ruled that a Probate Judge does not have the authority to deny an applicant because of a lack of disposition. I have a problem with that,” Judge Lindsey told Commissioners. “My clerk, Angela Sanders, and I go above and beyond the call of duty to do our best to serve the County. Within 10 days, we are supposed to deny or approve an applicant. Sometimes, it takes a little bit longer than 10 days because I will either task the applicant to provide me with the disposition that is missing, or Angela or I will contact law enforcement both inside and outside of the state to see what happened with that charge.”

Judge Lindsey presented Commissioners with a letter outlining the details of the Supreme Court decision and her perspective on the scenarios. “The Supreme Court is now saying I cannot perform this practice of obtaining a missing disposition; I must approve the license,” she explained. “I depend on my law enforcement reports and criminal background checks to approve or deny these licenses.”

She concluded, “The purpose of me being here is to let you know that this has happened. There was a probate judge that was sued for denying a weapons carry permit. I hope it does not happen in our county. Thankfully, we live in a small county and it is less likely, which puts me at ease. I have denied permits before. I believe I denied licenses based on Georgia Law, and have not been challenged in that belief yet.”

Commissioners assured Judge Lindsey of their faith in her ability to serve the County with integrity and fairness in her judgment regarding weapons carry permits.

2022 Elections Announced Toombs County Manager John Jones presented the Commissioners with the list of elections for county seats that will occur in 2022, including two commission seat races. The qualifying fee for these positions will be decided in the January meeting of the Commission. Up for election in 2022 will be Districts 1 and 4, currently held by Commissioners Alfred Cason and Tommy Rollins.

County Takes Control of U.S. Highway 1

The Toombs County Commission has reached an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation regarding the control of the piece of U.S. Highway 1, which has been abandoned by GDOT because of the newly-created roadway.

This piece of the old route is near Toombs Central Elementary School and will no longer be used or maintained by GDOT. Instead, GDOT has agreed to repave the roadway and place cul-de-sacs at each end of the roadway, so that the County is not tasked with any major roadway maintenance of the road in coming years. This piece of road is now owned by Toombs County and will be maintained through County funding.

Declaration of Surplus

The Commission unanimously agreed to declare many pieces of EMS and EMA furniture as excess inventory so that it may be appropriately disposed of. This furniture surplus comes as a result of the recent transition of the EMS and EMA agencies to the new Ross Bowen Complex.

Damaged pieces of this furniture will be disposed of at the county landfill, while other pieces will be available for purchase through sealed bids.

Contracts, Purchases, and Licensures

Commissioners approved a contract with Progressive Landscaping for the landscaping outside of the new EMS/EMA building at the Ross Bowen Complex for a total of $36,989.40, which includes new irrigation. This is the last item necessary for completion of the building, and will require an estimated 45 days to accomplish. Commissioners approved the purchase of two computers and four new monitors. These computers will be used by the EMS, and this purchase will cost $2,737.96, which will be paid through Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds. A new tarp will be purchased for the County’s Solid Waste Facility to replace the current one, which the county has had for over 15 years. This tarp is motorized to cover the waste sites daily, and the current tarp has diminished in quality because of repairs and age. The new tarp will cost $41,050.02, which will be paid for through the Solid Waste fund.

The County’s large CAT 730 Dump Truck will receive a new engine to continue to restore it to maximum productivity. The transmission was recently replaced, and this replacement will complete the refurbishing process. This will cost $51,699.43, which will come from the road department funding.

Several alcohol licenses were also renewed for businesses within the County.

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