LEESBURG – Lee County Commission Chairman Billy Mathis commended citizens for “following safe practices” to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the county during Tuesday’s meeting.
Following the approval of the minutes from the board’s previous meeting, Mathis provided an update on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases reported in the county. “As you know, numbers have been up a little in Lee County,” he said. “They have been up more than we wanted. But not astronomical numbers just up a touch and back down again.”
He commended citizens of the county in working to keep the numbers down.
Lee County School Superintendent Jason Miller addressed the commission regarding plans for school opening.
“We are moving forward with plans to open schools on Friday, Aug. 14,” Miller said. “We will offer our parents the choice between virtual learning and in-person learning at school. Right now, the split is about 80 percent for in-person learning and 20 percent for virtual learning. That may shift a little bit before the opening of school.”
“We believe we can open schools safely. We think that our citizens in one sense have voted for that along with virtual learning. We are not discouraging anyone from that option. There are families that have serious health concerns; we give them the power of choice to make that decision.”
Miller went on to assure commissioners that school officials were following Department of Public health guidelines and those of the Georgia Department of Education.
In other action, the commission approved the purchase of new jaws of life instruments, ensuring there would be a pair at all EMS/fire stations in the county.
The Planning Commission voted to deny the request of RaceTrac Petroleum LLC to be given a variance allowing the company to have a single sign double the standard approved square footage of the county’s sign ordinance. The denial was based on staff recommendation.
Discussion was held on declaring two dump trucks as surplus and purchasing a used dump truck and used trailer. Co-County Manager Mike Sistrunk explained to the commission that the dump trucks currently in use were bought used from DOT surplus about four years ago and would require $15,000 to $18,000 each in repairs to remain serviceable. Comparable new vehicles cost between $150,000 and $155,000, Sistrunk said. He also recommended the purchase of a high-capacity dump trailer to increase carrying capacity.
Sistrunk informed the commissioners that the county had sufficient SPLOST funds available for the purchases. Commissioner Luke Singletary made a motion to put out a bid for a dump trailer and surplus the two existing trucks. The motion carried.
The Commission appointed Marian Grant-Whitlock to serve a two-year term as a member of the Community Foundation Board of Trustees. The board also voted to approve a resolution naming Kaitlyn Sawyer as open records officer and Christi Dockery as alternate open records officer.
Mathis asked if there was an overall master plan related to the drainage of the Grand Island property that is the site of the proposed Lee County Medical Center. Singletary explained that a number of portions of the overall actions needed had been completed but were not tied together at this time.
Commissioner George Wheaton asked what county equipment was being utilized at Chehaw Park and Zoo.
“I see a lot of trucks going in and out of there,” Wheaton said.
Sistrunk said there was no county equipment at Chehaw, but the park was taking Lee County’s tree debris under an agreement that the park will take the debris and grind it to reduce landfill space.