2017-04-26 / Front Page

Commissioners discuss issues at Planning Meeting

By Deborah Bennett
Millen News editor

Littering, employee salaries, and courthouse parking were among issues discussed at a recent Planning Meeting of the Jenkins County Commissioners. The meeting was the first of its kind for the group. County Administrator Grady Saxon stated that the meeting was a learning process, and if proven beneficial, future sessions would be scheduled.

Chairman James Henry discussed the need for cleaning up the roadsides in the county. Options discussed for cleaning up the litter included removing the dumpsters in the areas where trash was scattered at dumpster sites; removing all dumpsters and having curbside service for garbage through a private company, which would become a direct cost to taxpayers; providing increased surveillance of dumpster sites and issuing fines for those caught dumping illegally; and initiating an “adopt a highway” program in order to promote participation by residents.

The Commissioners also discussed benefits and salaries of county employees, noting that an area of concern was the need for an increase in salaries in order to be competitive in the employment market. The possibility of changing the county’s retirement plan to include a 401(k) style plan with a county match was also discussed. Mr. Saxon was asked to collect wage and salary information from the Department of Community Affairs for comparison with Jenkins County. He was also asked to attempt to obtain copies of the benefit packages for surrounding counties for comparison.

Commissioner Jason Oglesby commented that most employees were mainly concerned with actual salaries. Other benefits were listed as only a secondary concern, he said.

Another issue addressed was the problem of limited parking at the Jenkins County Courthouse, especially during court days. A possible solution presented was the closing, on court days only, of the portion of Daniel Street that runs between the Jenkins County Memorial Library and the courthouse. There would be designated parking for law enforcement and judges so that they would not have to park on the courthouse lawn. Also, discussed was the possibility of converting into a parking area the site of the old Soc Station on Winthrope Avenue across from the courthouse.

Chairman Henry stated that he and Mr. Saxon had met with Larry Calhoun of Southeastern Technical College (STC) to discuss the possibility of providing transportation for Jenkins County students to STC in order to facilitate job skills. Mr. Calhoun advised that many financial aid programs were available and that certain grants could help the county pay for the transportation for students. Also, discussed was the possibility of STC conducting classes at a satellite campus in the county. This option would limit the available programs, however.

The meeting included discussions with department heads concerning individual office and department needs.

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