The Union Recorder

April 2, 2014

County investigating Doshella Road problems

Citizens question unification again

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County Manager Ralph McMullen alerted county commissioners to a serious drainage problem on Doshella Road at Tuesday's regular board meeting.

The .32-mile section from Stewart Drive to Will Avenue holds 51 homes.

“We got a recent call and since that recent call, the suggestion was to possibly close that section of road,” McMullen said.

County Engineer Brian Wood said possible closure exists 300-foot between the intersection from Simmons Lane to Will Avenue.

“That section is completely torn up. It's a mud hole now,” Wood said Tuesday. “Part of the problem is that there is a pond on Lot 138, which is close to the right away, that dumps into Doshella and continues on. That section of road is flat and just stays wet constantly. That's why it's in the condition it's in.”

Closing the discussed Doshella Road portion would cut off the aforementioned lot. County Public Works would have to install a cul-de-sac at Will Avenue to close, which requires some right-of-way acquisition.

“I don't think it's feasible,” Wood said.

The damaged area is a common county school bus cut through as well.

“Repairing it would be more feasible than just shutting it off,” McMullen said.

Commission Chairman Sammy Hall, District 3, asked if the property owner had “some liability” for the water leaking and damaging the public right-of-way.

“If that pond wasn't leaking water, wouldn't that go a long way in protecting the road?” Hall said. “That person may need to do corrective measures to make sure the water goes where it is supposed to.”

County Attorney David McRee said he'd look into the situation “as to how the water is coming.”

Commissioners agreed more investigation by Wood was needed before any major closure decision came forth.

Commissioners previously approved the 2014 Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG) list comprised of 18 of the worst county roads that was sent to the Department of Transportation. Doshella Road made the list.

A total cost of $517,000 consists of $397,000 from the DOT LMIG funds and a 30 percent local match equaling just under $120,000 for needed roadwork.

Wood recommended leaving Doshella's estimated repairs costing $41,000 within the approved 2014 LMIG work cycle.

n Citizens worried about government unification

Two county residents spoke during the two-minute non-agenda item comment period Tuesday. Both Quentin T. Howell and Harvey Palmer seemed bothered by recent news of a renewed push to introduce the charter unifying the governments of Baldwin County and the City of Milledgeville during the 2015 Georgia legislative session.

Palmer asked if consolidation provided any constituent benefits.

“I came to ask the commissioners what's your position on unification?” Palmer said. “I don't see a benefit.”

Hall said February's 3-2 vote to send a charter to the Georgia legislature stated the board was “willing to let the people have a vote on a particular charter.”

State Rep. Rusty Kidd (I-Milledgeville) announced last week that a newly selected seven-member citizen team will help him introduce the document.

“If you are asking our opinion about what Rep. Kidd is doing, we collectively don't have an opinion,” Hall said. “That would be up to each individual person.”

Hall and Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley are working to form a committee consisting of two Council members, two commissioners, both city and county managers and attorneys and any staff, two members of the original Unified Government Charter Writing Committee and two members to continue charter dialogue and revisions.

“I really liked that plan,” Howell said. “A lot of people in the community support you all in that plan.”

He said he feels that “special interest groups are jumping into the process of elected officials.”

“Please don't be influenced. No one else has any authority over Baldwin County and the City of Milledgeville except for you,” Howell said.

n Commissioners hear of possible recreation association return

Based on recreation committee members Commissioners Henry Craig, District 4, and Tommy French, District 2, discussions point toward a return to youth associations as facilitators of all youth sports programs in due time.

Also, the committee recommends continued use of the 2009 established policies and procedures with a few adjustments relating to non-athletic rentals and a more accessible financial reporting plan agreeable to volunteers, the county and auditors.

“I want to make it perfectly clear that in deciding to go to those associations it was an entire committee's feeling that it would relieve some of the pressure off our recreation director and manager,” French said. “We will hold them accountable. We'll have the proper training for those associations to make it run more efficiently and fluid for Baldwin County.”

Adoption of a recreation fee schedule and the establishment of an advisory board to work directly with the recreation director were mentioned as well.

French said this volunteer driven direction outlook would create “buy-in.”

“We are trying to get as much input as we can from our county, parents and volunteers to make our recreation department come up to the standard that we want it to be.”

n Occupation tax list under construction

Per request from the Baldwin County Commissioners, county management began a revenue stream analysis concerning occupation taxes last month.

McMullen said the permit clerk purged the occupation permit list of 154 individuals that didn't renew.

As a result of letters mailed, the manager said 17 renewed creating $1,280.

“We are working on these 150 delinquencies,” McMullen said. “Through other processes, we've got to catch those individuals that are functioning without licenses.”