LEESBURG -- The Lee County Commission reappointed Ed Duffy as its chairman and Rick Muggridge as its vice chairman Tuesday night during the board's first meeting of the new year, then defended itself against charges of operating under a "good ol' boy network" at the end of the work session.
Frank Taylor complained during post-meeting public forum comments about the "cut-and-dried" re-election of the chairman and vice chair and called for the addition of a chairman and a seventh commissioner, both of which he said should be elected at-large.
"There's nothing done with this board through a good-ol'-boy network," Duffy responded to Taylor's remarks. "I believe this is the best board this county has had in the last 15 years, and I can't think of a single thing we've voted on that hasn't been in the best interest of all the citizens of Lee County.
"I appreciate your comments, but I don't agree with you. This board is totally committed to Lee County."
Prior to Taylor's comments, Commissioner Dennis Roland, as was reported in a story that appeared in Tuesday's edition of The Albany Herald, called on the board to consider amending the county's garbage collection policy to include the payment of a $100 deposit by all new customers and the confiscation of garbage containers of residents who did not pay their bills in a timely manner.
Roland also suggested making customers whose containers were taken up by the county due to nonpayment pay a deposit when service resumed and setting up criteria to account for citizens who can't afford to pay their solid waste collection bills.
In the county's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of its garbage collection, Code Enforcement officers Jim Wright and Ben Roberts recently started contacting 112 citizens who had failed to set up trash collection service accounts when they moved into their current residences. Wright said 44 percent of those contacted had already called Utilities Services to set up accounts.
"We're giving our citizens the benfit of the doubt and either hand-delivering or posting notices letting them know they are not in compliance with county code," Wright, the county's chief marshal/code enforcement officer, said before Tuesday's meeting. "This is not about collecting money, but if you look at the 112 citizens who hadn't set up accounts, that's right at $31,000 a year in uncollected fees."
David Payne, a project professional with TTL environmental consultants, answered a number of questions during a public hearing held to present the findings of an assessment of corrective measures taken by the company for remediation of groundwater contaminants in compliance with an Environmental Protection Division order related to the closed Lee County Municipal Solid Waste Landfill.
Payne gave a brief history of the landfill, which was formally closed in April of 1994, and described monitoring methods conducted by TTL to assure compliance with EPD standards.
Assistant Fire Chief Paul Branch thanked the commission for allocating advance funds and the county voters for approving the Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax VI referendum whose funding was used to purchase an updated air system for the Lee Fire Department.
"The containers with this Scott system are 2 pounds lighter but hold 50 percent more air," Branch said. "And it is state-of-the-art equipment with a proven safety record. Scott has millions of models on the market and has never had a failure."
Facilities Coordinator John Patrick presented a pair of proposals through which the county might address recurring concerns with contract janitorial services.
"One thing is for certain: No one is satisfied with our current janitorial services," Patrick said.
He offered proposals for slightly more than $63,000 to hire one full-time and one part-time employee to perform the duties and for $76,600 to hire professional cleaner Bishop Clean Care to do the job.