Traveling on Bennett Still and several other county roads should be a little safer in the future after the county commission agreed to participate in a safety project with the state DOT.
At last week’s regular Bacon County commission meeting, the group unanimously agreed to a contract with the state agency which will pay for 100 percent of restriping — included stop bars, and should stripes — Bennett Still, Dedge Farm, New Hope Church, Teakwood, Old Pine Grove Roads, the old Waycross/Alma Highway and several more.
“We won’t have a financial match on this project, but we will do our part by clipping down the shoulders of the roads to reduce grass build-up and allow water to drain better,” said County Commission Chairman Andy Hutto. “A lot of these roads are really bad so we are glad to see this project come along.”
In other business, the commissioners voted unanimously to share in the $8,000 cost of the annual Fourth of July fireworks show. The county and City of Alma will split the cost and the joint fire department will handle the logistics of the show, as usual.
Also during the meeting, Financial Advisor Larry Taylor gave a brief update on the county’s current situation.
“We are limping in to fiscal year-end [July 1] and we’re going to get there,” he said, “but it’s going to be close.”
“We are not that far off budget right now, but we needed to be better. Some difficult decisions are going to have to be made on your new budget.”
With a yet to be completed 2017-18 budget, the county commissioners also voted unanimously to continue to operate under their 2016-17 budget in order to buy time to complete the new financial document.
The group also discussed the need to hire a new county auditor due to the recent resignation of longtime auditor Robert Goodman. Taylor recommended two “qualified” auditors — one from Blackshear, and one from Macon.
Another matter discussed, was the possibility of housing county prisoners outside of Bacon County.
“I think we need to take a look at the possibility,” said Commissioner Jerry Turner. “The city [Alma] is doing it. We could continue to use the jail building as a booking facility only.”
County Attorney Jennifer Carver suggested the commissioners see how the city’s contract with Coffee County works out before making any decisions. Chairman Hutto said Bacon County Sheriff Mark Cothern suggested a meeting with the Coffee County sheriff to obtain more information on the matter.
“We have liability and maintenance issue with the jail, that is true,” said Advisor Taylor. “What you need to do is study it and see if the savings in those areas are enough to offset the transportation and other costs associated with housing inmates out of county.”