Citizens speak out during public input

Several citizens stepped up to the microphone on Tuesday, October 6, to express concerns to the Appling County Board of Commissioners on several topics during the board’s monthly meeting.

Baxley City Council member Santina Fryer was first to speak and she asked the commissioners to reconsider a recent decision to not install lighting at the Ernest J. Parker Park softball/baseball field. Fryer told board members that the lighting is needed for safety and for continued beautification of the park.

Next Steven Lee Henry stepped up to the podium and announced that he is running for county commissioner and added that he wants to work with all of the commissioners to help the county bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19 on the community.

Kay Haire was next and reported to the commissioners that there has been a lot of four-wheeler and ATV traffic up and down the road she resides on, Holland Road Extension. She said that she has tried to get the issue resolved by working with the Sheriff’s Department and added that she would like to see about getting the road abandoned or closed. Haire also reported that EMTs have had difficulty finding homes in the area due to changes with the name of the roadways in the area where she lives.

Rick Herndon was the last speaker during public input and he too talked about the name of Holland Road (Extension). Herndon stated that since he has lived on the road, the mail has changed at least four times and his family has difficulty receiving packages. He reported that he had spoken with E911 Director Henry Alderman about the issue and added that he felt like it was time to go higher on trying to get the issues fixed.

Other business

On a split vote, the commissioners approved the purchase of acoustical panels for the Appling Ag Center at a cost of $115,350.00. Two bids were submitted on the project. The first bid was submitted by Stage Front of Savannah at $115,350.00. Stage Front will provide ceiling panels and wall panels for the facility. The second bid was submitted by JM Miles Construction of Baxley at $88,052.00. JM Miles bid included installing ceiling tiles. Commissioners Sarah Boatright, Ronnie Rentz and Theodore Wilkerson all voted in favor of going with Stage Front. Commissioners Daryl Edwards and Charlie Leggett opposed the measure.

Board members unanimously approved reappointing Jimmy McMillan to the Appling County DFCS board.

The commissioners approved applying for a grant from DNR seeking funding for lighting for the athletic fields that will be constructed adjacent to the Appling County Ag Center.

On a unanimous vote, the commission approved applying for a Community Development Block Grant for the Head Start building.

The commissioners approved a recommendation from Chairman Mike Shumans to reappoint Jimmy Johnson to the Appling County Board of Elections.

Appling County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Gene Davis gave an update on the sheriff’s department on behalf of Sheriff Mark Melton. Davis stated that Melton was currently out due to having COVID-19 and mentioned that several employees are also quarantined due to the virus. Davis informed the commission on that Mokeil Eason had received his law enforcement training and would be moving from the detention center to sheriff’s department and become a deputy for the department. He also reported that the department has hired Al Meadows as a part time instructor/trainer for the department. Davis reported that no inmates have COVID-19.

Recreation Manager Wilton McCall reported that on September 21 the Appling County Recreation Authority approved reopening athletic programs for the department. McCall stated that the numbers for football and cheerleading have been low and the department has extended the deadline to allow for additional response. Chairman Shumans told McCall he was happy to see the recreation department starting back.

County Road Department Manager Chris Horton gave a report to the commissioners regarding roads and bridges. Horton stated that the department has experienced some employees being out due to COVID-19. He said the department has started on the Cattle Gap Lane paving project. In addition employees from the county have been assisting the Appling County Food Bank on occasion with the unloading of large quantities of food. Horton stated that the county has treated Lake Mayers for algae twice and has also been working on cross drains on roadways in the community.