MoCo Commission Updated On Broadband Installation
At its monthly work session on September 8, the Montgomery County Commission got an update from Altamaha EMC/Fiber Engineer Phil Proctor about broadband installation across the county.
According to Proctor, the company has tried to create a continued from page
“ring” around the county near Toombs County for facilitating connections. A contractor is now working on distributing broadband to the Alston and Uvalda areas. Drop crews are working alongside this contractor to set up the connections for customers. Crews are also working to set up connections between Alston and Petross, as well as south of Vidalia toward Petross.
“We’re pretty active in Montgomery County right now; we don’t have as much going in Toombs,” he remarked. “We are planning to continue moving along the south side. We did the south areas of Lyons, Vidalia, and now Montgomery County, and then will transition north.”
The next task for the broadband project will be to create a substation in the McGregor community in Montgomery County for continued connections. Proctor advised citizens to ensure that they have notified Altamaha EMC of their desire for broadband through the company’s website, as this helps document demand.
The Montgomery County Commission officially levied its millage rate at 14.8780 mills, an increase of 0.25 mills from last year. Yet, this tax increase came with comments from the public who were disgruntled about raising their taxes with a decrease of services. According to Commission Chairman Leland Adams, the hike in the millage rate was necessary because the county needed an additional $50,000 to balance the annual budget. Citizens from Clifton Road and Montgomery Acres addressed the commissioners about the increase, focusing primarily on their frustration with the lack of county services for Clifton Road in Higgston.
“Someone is getting the benefit to my tax dollars, and it isn’t me,” William Parten explained. Parten says that throughout the years, the amount of regular maintenance conducted on Clifton Road has deceased until now the dirt road is barely scraped. He says the brush and overgrowth are severely narrowing the road and making it hazardous for travel. County Manager Brandon Braddy informed Parten that the county consists of 230 miles of dirt roads and less than 150 miles of paved roads, making it difficult for the road crew to quickly complete the routine cycle for maintenance.
Citizens Joelle and Andy Coursey also questioned the commissioners’ intent of raising the millage rate, as they asked that Clifton Road be re-evaluated by the road department.
“The funds from the millage rate do not only pay for road work, but also for salaries and other expenses. Right now, we have a lot of expenses to cover, as the salaries for employees, including police and road department, are being raised to try and keep good workers,” Adams stated. He also cited the raise in property values within reassessments as a source of tax increase.
Following the hearings, Adams and Braddy traveled to Clifton Road to assess the situation and plan for maintenance to be completed on the road as soon as possible.
Commissioners also set the official time to levy the Montgomery County Board of Education’s millage rate, following the Board’s last hearing and adoption on Thursday, to September 15, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Commission will officially levy that millage rate on Friday, September 16, at noon.
Commissioners also spoke with SP Design Group Architect Bob Day about construction of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) building. According to Day, a total of 7 construction companies submitted bids on the project, with the lowest bid coming in at just over $2 million dollars. Commissioners spoke with Day of their interest to review the plans of the building to see if there are any details or areas where costs may be cut.
Board of Elections
County Manager Brandon Braddy informed commissioners that there have been two applications submitted for the newlycreated Elections Supervisor position, and one more application is expected. Several members of the current Board of Registrars have also submitted their applications for the Board of Elections positions. The deadline for all application submissions is Friday, September 16.