Chairman Mike Shumans called the meeting of the Appling County Commissioners to order at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 19, and called for the pledge and invocation. Afterwards, he turned the meeting over to Hayden Rozier, County Manager, who stated that in September, the group would vote for a 12.504 mill rate. He then reported that they had run the budget in the paper and asked if anyone had comments or questions about it.

The first person to speak was Dedra Hewett. She asked why the commissioners had not included the money to purchase the equipment to livestream the meetings to the public. She said many people could not attend the meetings but would like to know what’s going on. The cost of the equipment would be about $6,000. There were no comments.

Next Wayne Canady said he’d like to go page by page through the budget with his questions. He asked for more than five minutes. He asked if they challenged the departments to cut the budget of the previous year.

Rozier said that this year’s budget didn’t really increase and that they came in almost half a million dollars under budget last year.

Canady asked if the county had done a salary study across the county. He asked if the people who are out on the streets endangering their lives protecting us should not be making more money than those sitting at desks. He asked if that was fair and equitable. He said he agreed with the Sheriff’s recent presentation. He asked the board to do an assessment of salaries for next year’s budget planning.

Commissioner Daryl Edwards said they cannot decrease one’s salary once it is set.

Canady said the city has negotiated their employees’ health insurance and thinks that the county might do well to follow that lead. It might be more effective than the county’s method.

Canady asked who enforces mobile home decals.

Rozier said they can’t turn the power on without the decal.

Other items Canady asked about included the following: Was the concession stand for recreation contracted out? Rozier said no, and Canady said they should be expecting $40,000.00 from that source then.

Why are the consultation fees for legal auditing up to $40,000.00? Shouldn’t the county consider budget billing for electricity?

Rozier said they pay for it when they use it because they have limited income until taxes start coming in. Money gets tight in the fall.

At this time, Mike Shumans suggested that Canady come in and sit down with Rozier to answer these questions, but he replied that he thought the purpose of the meeting was to ask his questions in public. He came prepared and had no idea that there would be a time limit.

Sarah Boatright said she has another meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Shumans asked if anyone else had questions and since no one did, he allowed Canady to continue.

He continued by asking about the $7,000 uniform allowance for 911 dispatch and pointed out that they sit behind desks. He wonders if uniforms are necessary. He asked why Dominion maintenance went from $4,000 to $16,000 and was told that the state sets those fees. The county has no control over that. They must pay them.

Canady asked about prison detail contracts, which cost $48,000 per year. They can’t do that when COVID is rampant, so he wanted to know if the county paid even when no details worked. Rozier said no.

Other questions included expenditures for storm damage, costs for staffing at the jail, and expenses for recreation. Specifically, he wanted to know if maintenance for the old pools will disappear when the new pool opens. Rozier said it all depends on whether the board votes to keep the old pools open.

He asked about the rental for the probate building, which is $30,000 per year. There being no more questions or comments, the meeting ended.