The Bulloch County Board of Commissioners held their regularly scheduled meeting on March 7th at the North Main Annex in Statesboro. Due to the noticeable absence of Chairman Roy Thompson, Vice Chairman Roy Mosley presided over the very efficient meeting.

On the agenda, there were three public hearings: one conditional use request by Joy Sawyer to build a solar field and two requests by Bulloch County rezone about 30 acres at 643 and 645 Buie Road to AG-5. All requests were unanimously approved.

The Board also approved the consent agenda, which included the appointment of Audrey King to the Development Authority, as well as the purchase of a new $151,650 ambulance from Custom Works.

In the public comments section, Ms. Gwendolyn McCloud Gary spoke out against an increase in violent and drug activity in the Pecan Grove Mobile Home park in Portal, Ga. She noted during her remarks that she has reached out to the Portal Police Department, the Crime Suppression Team (which is currently disbanded) as well as the local City Council, however was redirected to address the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners due to the mobile home park being in an unincorporated part of the county. She updated Commissioners that there had been several shootings, during times when children are playing outside after school, and didn’t feel safe in that kind of environment. She gave tips to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which conducted a raid on one of the nearby homes, but did not apprehend the alleged drug dealer. He alluded law enforcement, and now employs numerous others to deal the drugs in his place, per her testimony.

Mr. Tom Couch, Bulloch County Manager, responded with his acknowledement that the Bulloch Co. Sheriff’s Department and the local law enforcement seemed to already be involved and aware of the criminal activity, seeing that the GBI was already coordinating drug raids, but assured her that he would reach out to Sheriff Noel Brown to ensure that her concerns are heard and acted upon.

The new business agenda that was voted on, and ultimately approved, included a Bulloch Co. Courthouse roof replacement project and a project proposal to build the Bulloch Agriculture Arena project.

The lowest bid for the roof replacement, which was $127,777.00, was rejected due to unverifiable references and the concern for an unusually low lump-sum bid. The county’s roof consultants, Lyon & Associates, suggested that the county take the second-lowest bid, which was for $215,059.00. The Board unanimously approved the second-lowest bid, and the project was awarded to Nation’s Roof to complete the remaining two phases of the courthouse restoration project, which includes fixing shingle and flat roof issues.

The Agricultural Arena project was approved for $4,282,008. The project has seven add-alternatives, including raising the roof of the main roof to accommodate higher bleachers and a multi-use aspect such as concerts, and a covered practice arena and walk way. “This project has been a long time coming, and I am happy to see it finally reach this point,” Commissioner Anthony Simmons added, as he made the motion to approve the project in it’s entirety. With unanimous approval, the County awarded the bid to Pope Construction which will be beginning the project soon.

As the County Commissioner adjourned, it was noted that the Commissioners were appreciative of the well-attended meeting. The County, lead by it’s new leadership, seems positioned to make strides toward sustainable economic development as well as meeting the needs of it’s citizens, including addressing crime and creating ways that we can all call this “home.”

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