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MoCo Commission Shares Status of County Roads

Recent rainy weather was brutal on Montgomery County roads, as the county’s several hundred miles of dirt roads became swamped and overflowing. County Works Director Robert Lewis gave the Montgomery County Commissioners an update on the status of the roads at the Commission’s regular monthly meeting on Monday, March 11.

According to Lewis, the dirt roads in the northern area of the county were much more affected that those on the southern region of the county, as most of the closures for repair had occurred in the north. He shared several roads that had been closed temporarily, such as Newsome Road, Hack Branch Road, Robinson Road, Jonas Road, and Vance Road. Lewis said that most of these areas were reopened by Wednesday, March 13, but major repairs would be needed for Mark Burns Road, J.L. Coleman Road, and Baker Road.

“We are having a lot of issues with signs going missing or getting damaged,” Lewis remarked. “We are asking that the public work with us. Please, if you see a sign down, pick it back up and set it up.”

The discussion of roads in the county continued throughout the meeting, as the Commissioners voted to award McLendon Enterprises with the bid to resurface Sawmill and Petross Roads, and to perform patching on Braddy Road – all of which are a part of the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) and Transportation Investment Act (TIA) projects.

Commissioners also agreed to allow LPL Solar to install bores under Sawmill Road. According to County Manager Brandon Braddy, the company has recently made an identical request to the Georgia Department of Transportation to install bores under GA Highway 280. The Department reviewed the plans for these installations and approved the project; thus, the commissioners also approved the project along Sawmill Road as long as the company agrees to utilize the same plans which they submitted to the Department of Transportation.

In preparation for an upcoming opportunity to apply for the FY24 Safe Streets and Roads Funding Grant, which is given by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the commissioners approved contracting Roberts Civil Engineering to help write a grant application for the county. The grant writing fees will be charged on an hourly rate for this service, but are ensured not to exceed $22,200 for the year. Because of the grant dealing with transportation, revenue from the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) may be used to cover this cost.

During the meeting, the county’s health insurance benefit plan was also reviewed and voted upon, as commissioners agreed to provide their employees with insurance through Cigna. Braddy shared that the group had consulted with insurance agent Josh Bean about the matter and decided to change to this company, as the premium for the current 90 Degree Benefits Plan has risen to over $1,000 per month.

This new plan will cause an increase. For the first time, employees will have to contribute toward their own insurance plans, as the County will cover 95% of the premium, leaving the employee responsible for the remaining 5%. Braddy stated that this change is necessary as $8,300 had been budgeted for the health insurance benefit plan of the 29 employees who take advantage of the service, but the total cost had increased around $1,000 since last year, ultimately totaling $8,405.67.

Commissioners also authorized the changing of the county’s Solid Waste Collection Center’s operating schedule. Rather than changing the hours at Daylight Saving Time, the Commission has agreed to open the centers from 1-6 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays. New signs will be ordered to display this new schedule.

The Commission also voted to provide Braddy with a budget of $1,300$1,500 per unit for the purchase of several new AEDs (automated external defibrillators for cardiac arrest cases) for first responders and county buildings. The discussion of this purchase first arose several months ago when Commissioner Chad Kenney informed the Commission that several first responders were having issues with outdated AEDs. Upon looking into replacing these old machines, the commissioners discussed the possibility of putting new machines in county buildings too, which would be paid for through the Buildings and Grounds Fund. Now that Braddy has been given a budget, he stated he would begin looking into purchasing the equipment and would give the commissioners an update on the project at a later date.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Amie Vassey addressed the Commissioners about a recent meeting in which business owners, Commission Chairman Leland Adams, Montgomery County Development Authority Executive Director Joe Fillippone, and community members had come together to discuss potential plans to revitalize and fill retail space throughout the County. She invited the commissioners to the next meeting of this nature, which will be held in April.

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