|The Upson Beacon.com||
County Chairman: ‘Pleased with Efforts’ at Joint Workshop
Local officials will release a detailed report by Jan. 28 outlining more than 50 community-related issues discussed last week at a joint work session involving the Thomaston City Council and Upson County Commission, according to County Manager Jason Tinsley.
Members of both governing bodies convened in St. Simons to identify and prioritize short-term and long-term initiatives which affect the entire community. Among items requiring immediate action are approval of a service delivery agreement and application of surplus funds from joint projects.
The city council and county commission will hold a joint meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 to review and approve the latest version of the service delivery strategy renewal draft prepared by city and county staff, according to a press release Tuesday. During that meeting, members will discuss a process in which certain services will be renegotiated during 2020.
At minimum, the services to be considered for renegotiation will include management of jointly owned facilities and wastewater services, the release stated.
The city and county also agree to apply surplus balances from joint project funds to economic development efforts countywide. Tinsley and City Manager Russell Thompson will engage the Industrial Development Authority to discuss plans for enhancing wastewater services to Georgia Business and Technology Park, using joint surplus as a partial funding source.
“I am very pleased with the efforts from everyone on the commission and council,” Upson Chairman Norman Allen said. “Without question, everyone is committed to serving our community and improving services and the quality of life, as well as improving opportunities for greater growth and prosperity.”
“Not only was this meeting very productive, it also seemed to improve communications, trust among our leadership and improved the relationship between the two governing bodies,” Allen continued. “I look forward to following through and accomplishing the goals set.”
Mayor J.D. Stallings echoed Allen’s optimism.
“I’m very pleased that our community leaders could come together and focus combined energy to identify our challenges and possible solutions,” Stallings said. “While we differ sometimes in common voice, creating common vision is paramount to our future successes. I found the meeting productive, informative, and hopefully to be a milestone to be looked back upon as the catalyst that brought unity.”
Next week’s joint meeting will be held prior to the county commission’s regular meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
County Planning Commission Votes McKinley to Chair
By Bridge Turner
Members of the Upson County Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to elect Commissioner Alicia McKinley to chair the group for 2020, following nomination by fellow Commissioner Sam Baity.
McKinley in turn nominated Baity to serve as vice chair, which also was approved unanimously by members.
McKinley replaced outgoing Chairman Joel Pitts.
The commission also voted unanimously to approve a resolution to adopt Heart & Soul statements following a presentation by former coordinator Jennifer Rogers.
In a culmination of two years collecting data from thousands of Upson residents, Rogers told commissioners that Phase 4 is nearing completion, signaling the end of the program. Thomaston City Council, Upson County Commission and the Thomaston-Upson Board of Education all previously voted to adopt the Heart & Soul statements, agreeing to consider residents’ prioritized wishes during future decision-making processes.
Rogers told commissioners that Georgia District 131 Representative Ken Pullin has designated March 2 as Heart & Soul Day and will host the group for a trip to the Capitol that day, recognizing Upson as the first area to utilize the program. She added that Feb. 27 will mark the first meeting of the H&S Legacy Team, which Rogers will chair for the first year.
Director Doug Currier updated commissioners on Census 2020 activity, stating that accuracy and participation are key to the area reaching full potential for federal funding. He presented figures from 2010 showing 77 percent participation in Upson, and said he hopes that percentage increases during the current cycle.
Currier told commissioners that his office is seeking an intern, preferably from Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia, for employment locally during the summer. Funding is available for that program, he said. Currier also reminded the group of work needed on both animal and noise county ordinances during the 2020 term.
County Commission Increases Planning Commissioners’ Pay