2017-07-05 / Front Page

Commissioners consider formation of Land Bank

By Deborah Bennett
Millen News editor

Vacant, blighted and tax delinquent properties within Jenkins County could be redeveloped through formation of a Land Bank.

During a recent meeting of the Jenkins County Commissioners, the idea was presented by Mandy Underwood, Executive Director, Jenkins County Chamber of Commerce/Development Authority. Mrs. Underwood explained that a Land Bank was a non-profit entity created by local governments through an Intergovernmental Agreement for the purpose of acquiring, managing, maintaining and facilitating the redevelopment of vacant, blighted and tax delinquent properties. A Land Bank would be eligible for various grant opportunities, she noted. The Commissioners approved a motion authorizing Mrs. Underwood to proceed with gathering further information on a Land Bank.

Under personal appearances, Jenkins County Emergency Services Director Henry Young expressed concerns about the current personnel shortages of the EMS. He states that the Ambulance Service needed to employ at least three additional persons in order to be fully staffed. He also noted that the service was struggling to find staff due to the low pay scale, as compared to surrounding counties. A motion was approved to adopt a newly recommended pay scale to bring all part time employees’ salaries up to full time in order to eliminate some of the current overtime expenses.

Mr. Young also expressed the need for a new ambulance, stating that the oldest one in the fleet was 10 years old. He was instructed to investigate possible purchase options, including lease/purchase.

Jenkins County Emergency Management Agency Director Alvin Burke presented an update on several grants that he had been working on. The grant for a mass notification system and warning sirens has been approved by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and has been forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approval. The proposed grant for a generator for the Annex Building was still being processed, he said.

Mr. Burke also noted that he had submitted a proposed Debris Management Plan to the county attorney for review and that he needs to have it approved before July 1st. He reported that he had participated in Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and asked the Commissioners for permission to proceed with establishing a team in Jenkins County. He noted that he was seeking grants to pay for the training materials. The Commissioners approved a motion authorizing Mr. Burke to proceed in the establishment of a CERT.

County Administration Grady Saxon reported that he had received a letter from the City of Millen regarding the current E-911 system, stating that the equipment would need to be replaced soon and the City would consider early termination of the current contract for the operation of the E-911 system.

Mr. Saxon also noted that the processing of credit/debit cards in most county offices would begin with a few weeks and that the set up for the ambulance billing by the county was almost complete.

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