By Mary Ann Ellis

After the pledge of allegiance and the invocation, Chairman Mike Shumans asked for the approval of three sets of March minutes, and they were approved unanimously. He then recognized Leslie Burch for public input. He thanked the commissioners for the Second Amendment Sanctuary, which he had asked for. He gave Winston Everett credit for the idea. He and Wayne Canady want reflective numeric addresses for the county so that ambulance drivers can find people better. He said he knew that the county might not have the ability to do that right now, but he asked them to think about it. He also asked that public input be moved to the end of the meeting rather than the beginning.

Shumans told him that Hayden Rozier would check on it and let him know. He said he realized that because of economic conditions, many people are living at the same address, and first responders were having hard times finding them. They will see if they can do it.

Knicole Lee, DNP, FNP-BC, came before the commissioners to ask permission to get medicine from other counties who have excess amounts and offered to share. She said they could start an infusion center for local people as early as next Monday if the commission approved. There’s no room at the hospital, but they can do it elsewhere. They can do infusions for COVID patients five days a week in an outpatient setting. They have arranged to use the Lakeview Retirement Center. These treatments can decrease hospitalization by 70 percent and will be free. Last week she sent 15 people to Metter to be infused. If not done by the tenth day of the virus, it’s too late, so time is of the essence. They plan to offer infusions in Darien and in Surrency as part of a consortium. At the hospital, they are trying to keep people alive; they don’t have time to do infusions. The hospital is full too. Lee has the manpower and supplies. There’s a small number of infusions being done in Alma, but the waiting list is too long. There are none in Tattnall or Pierce Counties. The commissioners unanimously approved the request.

Shumans then introduced the newly elected representative for District 156, Leesa Hagan. She had called the day after the election and asked to come talk to the commissioners. She gave her cell phone number (403-9303) to the group and asked to be called when people have issues they need her to look into. The big question right now is when they will have the special session for redistricting, but she’s not sure yet. They do not have the final numbers from the census. The governor will call the special session maybe some time in October, but it could be December. Her committee assignments are Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, with which she’s pleased. She will also be involved with Small Business Development, and she’s already spoken with Keri Orvin at the Chamber of Commerce. They are planning a meeting with local small business owners. She plans some town hall meetings in the fall. They’d like to wait until COVID calms down a bit if possible. Her third committee is Natural Resources and Environment, and the main concern is water usage.

“I need to hear from you. Call and let me know what you need,” she said.

Under new business, Hayden Rozier said that the fiscal year 2022 has been advertised. The budget has been set at $20,602,222. The millage rate has gone down this year for the county and the school system: they are 12.504 for the county, 12.852 for the school system, and .47 for fire rescue. Approval was unanimous.

Rozier then asked the commission’s lawyer to read the resolution prepared for the requested Second Amendment Sanctuary. It read as follows:

WHEAREAS, The Appling County Commission fully supports the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and fully

supports the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment and agree that Right shall not be infringed: and

WHEAREAS, The Appling County Commission reaffirms the Georgia legislature’s firm support of the Second Amendment and the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Further, any statute adopted by Congress or the State Legislature that violates the Constitution of the United States or the rights granted in the Second Amendment shall have no force or effect.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The Appling County Commission pledges to continue to allocate funds to the Sheriff’s Office to protect the Constitutional Rights of all the Citizens of Appling County; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Appling County Commission pledges not to allocate any funds that could be used to violate the Constitutional Rights of any of our citizens to keep and bear arms.

The commissioners approved unanimously, and the audience applauded.

Rozier reported that they have had the prison detail for only eleven days. They have the same issue with the landfill. No bill has come yet. He needs some guidance from the commissioners. They wanted some idea of the cost of litter pick up for the county. There are 306 paved roads in Appling County and 566 dirt roads. They budgeted nearly $100,000 for litter pick up. He thinks it would be about $75,000 to pick up along the paved roads; $275,000 would be required to do all the roads in the county.

Darryl Edwards says they should use the money they have now and see what they get in bids.

Hayden said he will get an ad out. They can also assist in things like moving voting machines, cutting grass around the courthouse, etc.

Sheriff Melton’s report pointed out that they put money back into the budget with grants and monies from other places. They received $48,000 from the governor’s office, $33,000 from Knicole Lee’s grant, and others. The school system pays seventy percent of the cost of their officers. He has $69,000 in the Champs Fund, which can pay for anything that affects children. He said the $124,194 for fines this year will mostly go back to the general budget for day-to-day operations. Their biggest cost is housing prisoners for other counties or for the federal government. Right now, the federal government is offering $48 a day, but he is asking $55.

“If they don’t come to our numbers,” Melton said, “I’m not going to theirs. They are too much trouble to deal with. They’d like us to have 24-hour medical staff, but we can’t afford that. After the nurse leaves, it’s the emergency room.”

Leggett asked if the old jail can be used, and Melton said they have been renovating it for some time. They are almost finished with the fourth pod and are doing it in house. They have sandblasted the cells and put in new commodes and showers. It’s in good physical condition.

No recreation report was given.

Chris Horton reported for the road department for the month of August. He said it’s now hard to get pipe and probably will be for at least the next twelve months. They are behind. The price has gone up. A lot of people are concerned about what appears to be work on private property, but it really isn’t because of easement agreements. COVID has slowed them down too. What used to be a simple fix now takes several months. Supplies they used to get overnight now take months. They have assisted recreation and other departments too.

The meeting was then adjourned.