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Lee board OKs sheriff's vehicle order

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Lee County commissioners took care of time-sensitive issues at the Commission's work session Tuesday night, voting to give Sheriff Reggie Rachals the go-ahead to place an order for four budgeted vehicles and approving the downsizing of a proposed senior development off Forrester Parkway.

Rachals asked for and received permission from the Commission to place an order with low bidder Hardy Ford of Dallas, Ga., for three trucks and a car for his department fleet.

"If we go ahead and place that order, it will take about eight to 10 weeks for delivery on the trucks and as many as 12 weeks on the car," Rachals said. "If we waited another two weeks (until the Commission's business meeting), it would take that much longer.

"We received eight bids on the vehicles, and while we always try to do business locally when we can, the difference in the bids was more than $4,000. And (Hardy Ford officials) promised they will deliver the vehicles to Preston, where the light packages and other additions will be made. And those folks will deliver the vehicles to us."

Officials with Peachtree Housing Partners asked commissioners to amend their recent resolution of support for Forrester Senior Village to reflect a development of 50 units rather than the 78 the company had originally planned. Josh Thomason with Peachtree said the change became necessary under new Department of Community Affairs guidelines.

"We based our original plan on 2009 DCA guidelines," Thomason said. "When the new ones came out, they had been changed drastically. Funding for the development is based on a points system, and by dropping the number of units, we'll get more points on our application."

In response to questions from Commissioner Dennis Roland, Thomason said the size of each unit at the complex would be increased "20 to 30 feet," but rent would actually be lower. He also said the complex would include more greenspace.

Publix General Manager Daryl Gilbert was on hand to comment during a public hearing held on the supermarket chain's request for a license for retail sale of off-premises wine and beer. Gilbert said more than 1,500 applicants had taken part in job fairs held by the grocer, and he indicated the supermarket is planning an Aug. 18 opening.

"I can't say enough nice things about working with the people here," he said. "We're excited about opening the store."

Planning and Engineering Director Bob Alexander told commissioners the state Department of Transportation's funding formula will allocate $290,000 for resurfacing in the county next year. Alexander said the county could use that money to fund specific projects or "roll it over" in successive years for larger projects.

County Administrator Alan Ours told the Commission the county had received bids from Oxford Construction ($109,934) and Reeves Construction ($109,971) on a 1.5-mile resurfacing project on Pinewood Road. That project, plus a state-managed, stimulus-funded resurfacing on another portion of the road, will give Pinewood a completely new surface.

Also at the meeting, Tim Nelson presented an alternate sign ordinance to commissioners that he said addresses shortcomings in a proposed ordinance being considered by the county, and Jeff Sexton offered to help the county set up a reverse 911 program on the social networking site Twitter that he said would cost the county nothing, rather than a proposed $25,000.

Reverse 911, which notifies citizens of pending emergencies, is part of a "Code Red" system being considered as part of a hazard mitigation plan.

Prior to the Commission meeting, the county Parks and Recreation Authority approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Commission for financing a loan repayment at the Grand Island Club.