Radar installed in sheriff’s cars; commissioners consider reports
By SPARKY NEWSOME editor

Routine business and brevity characterized the regular monthly meeting of the Wilkes County Board of Commissioners last Thursday, January 12. The meeting was over just 22 minutes after it began and almost hit the mark of being the shortest regular meeting on record.

In his regular report, Wilkes County Sheriff Gary Rogers noted that radar units had already been installed in six of his department’s patrol cars. The units had been requested and purchased as reported previously. He also asked for financial help from the county in purchasing video camera equipment for patrol cars. Specifics on equipment and dollar amounts were not discussed.

However, Commissioner J.M. Sherrer was obviously pleased with the fact that the Sheriff’s Department will now be patrolling the county’s roads in an effort to cut down on traffic and other violations. He also showed support for the prospect of video cameras in the cars.

“You can probably get enough to pay for them in one weekend right through the heart of Rayle,” he said, indicating that there is a real problem with people not slowing down as they travel through the small town’s city limits.

Rogers reported that all deputies have been trained in the use of the new equipment and added that “We’re not looking for just speeders.”

Wilkes County Emergency Mansources. agement Agency Director Blake Thompson reported that calls were up by about 60 in December and that his department had begun to prepare for the motocross event scheduled for January 21-22 at Aonia Pass. The event, he said, will draw about 300 riders. He also reported that a much larger event is set for March 11-12 at Aonia Pass.

Thompson said that it would be 3-4 weeks before the cab for his department’s replacement truck arrives. After that, he expected the remount of the box to take an additional 30 days.

All of the commissioners were in attendance at the short meeting. They are Chairman Sam Moore, Divenski Lee, Donna Hardy, Jerry Stover, and Sherrer. Also present for the meeting were County Administrator David Tyler and a few visitors.

The board handled a number of business and informational items including the following.

Moore commented on the announced closing of Hexcel and said that “Manufacturing jobs throughout the United States are disappearing and it’s a wonder it has not affected us any more than it has.” He said that there are about 800 large industrial buildings across the state of Georgia that are currently vacant. “We’re lucky to have held on as well as we have,” he said.

Hardy reported that MCG surgeons had opened their clinic here for the first time last week and “did very well. They are very hopeful about having these clinics and in generating some extra income,” she said.

Hardy also reminded those in attendance that the Georgia Department of Driver Services will have its GLOW (Georgia Licensing on Wheels) bus in Washington on February 3 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Photo identification cards will be available at the bus and may be obtained without cost if certain criteria are met. Hardy pointed out that the service would be especially good for senior citizens who need a photo ID for voting purposes.

Washington-Wilkes Payroll Development Director David Jenkins reported that he is working with Hexcel and Pliant Corporation during their troubled times.

Moore said that according to what he had heard from State Senator Jim Whitehead, the opening of the detention center later this year in “on go.”

Stover reported that two projects at the Washington-Wilkes Airport, the eventual construction of parallel taxiways and a new pilots’ center, are underway.

Beer and wine licenses were approved for M&AJ’s Mini Mart on Lexington Road, and Mr. D’s on Lexington Road were approved.

Qualifying fees for five county positions up for election this year were set as follows: chairman, Board of Commissioners, $1,627.17; Board of Commissioners member, District 3, $72; Board of Commissioners member, District 4, $72; Board of Education member, District 1, $72; and Board of Education member, District 2, $72. Qualifying fees are 3% of the base salary for the respective positions.

Tyler reported that $81,532.87 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales had been received for the month of October and that $53,168.86 in Local Option Sales Tax had been received for the same period. He also said that additional pro rata collections in the amounts of $1,869.04 and $1,213.86 had been received.

It was announced that bids for one of the airport projects would be opened at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, in the commissioners’ board room.

The next regular meeting of the commissioners will be held on Thursday, February 9, at 2 p.m. with a work session preceding at 1:30 in Moore’s office in the courthouse.