County seeks funds for road improvements
Commissioners OK spending on Public Works equipment and computers.
Polk County Commissioners had a busy month of September with one of their biggest decisions on who would be joining them as a new member.
The rest of their monthly agenda was still busy enough despite the unanimous vote to have Jose Iglesias join the board ranks, and will provide benefits aplenty in the years ahead for local residents and employees alike.
Among those were a funding request to get work done to widen Cherokee Road now that the county has taken over the responsibility for road maintenance and improvement with the trade for responsibility earlier in the year for the Cedartown Sports Walk of Fame statues with the City of Cedartown.
County Manager Matt Denton said that officials have been working with State Rep. Trey Kelley and other state officials to find funding via the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants to get funding for widening of Cherokee Road.
The Sept. 13 approval on the agenda was to give the county administration the go-ahead to seek the additional LMIG funds. It’s one of two roads the county is hoping to get state help with.
“We also are going to seek money to do something about Marquette Road,” Denton said.
He added that due to the amount of work that needs to be done, Marquette Road will be a separate project for the yeas ahead. The scope of work. requires essentially moving portions of the road completely to give more room for making Marquette Road between Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s campus in Rockmart and Rockmart High School, which will cost millions of dollars.
The project is still one the county plans to go after, along with a number of other improvements that county officials are seeking for the future.
Public Works Director Michael Gravett said that after conversations with the state Department of Transportation, the county is looking ahead and planning for bridge repairs as well. Especially those which are single-lane bridges and haven’t seen repairs and maintenance completed in a number of years.
Gravett’s department also has a new dump truck coming following approval of a $123,000 bid as part of capital improvement upgrades for Public Works.
Additionally, Commissioners approved funding for moving power lines for the new fuel station, and for purchase of new tire and brake equipment for the new facility in order to make those repairs to county vehicles - with the exception of dump trucks and tractors - in-house.
When asked several times by the commission whether the new equipment will help save money for the county in the future on doing the work in-house, Gravett said the wholesale cost of tires just for several departments who drive vehicles on a daily basis will help save money.
Polk County has eight new desktops and a number of laptops and printers are headed to the County Administration and County Sheriff’s Office in the coming weeks.
Commissioners voted unanimously for the pair of capital improvement purchases, replacing equipment used by administrators who handle human resources, finances and more for new desktops. Denton said the computers were replacing several machines that have experienced hardware failures over the past months.
Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office are getting 18 laptops, a trio of printers and the mounting hardware after spending was approved to put replacement Panasonic Toughbooks inside of squad cars used by deputies when they are serving warrants.
Commissioner Chuck Thaxton asked that in the future the county try to make these purchases in bulk annually in hopes of saving money by making bulk purchases.
Unanimous votes greeted several decisions by the commission to take care of administrative matters, and to honor a former member who resigned ahead of a move to Cobb County.
Commissioners agreed to approve Jennifer Hulsey as the new vice chair for the board after she was the sole nominee put up by Scotty Tillery.
Both Marshelle and Chuck Thaxton and Tillery voted for their approval of Hulsey taking over the vice chair spot became open with the resignation of former District 3 Commissioner Stefanie Drake Burford.
A proclamation honoring her service to the county as a commissioner was also unanimously approved by the board, along with naming Tillery as the voting delegate for the Fall Legislative Leadership Conference in the coming weeks.
The City of Aragon won’t owe any back taxes on property they bought from themselves on the courthouse steps on Portland Road.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve writing off more than $3,500 in back property taxes on the land purchased by the city, which the city council had also previously written taxes off for in the past.
The request did draw discussion during the work session held in the hours previous. Commissioners wanted to know why the property had gone on a city tax sale before a county tax sale with that much back taxes owed, which went back to several years prior. Later during the regular meeting, Denton provided a response that after a discussion with Tax Commissioner Kathy Cole, he learned the city had held a tax sale and scooped up the property before it went on the county’s auction block again.
Commissioners also approved writing off $107,876.26 in taxes that were also deemed uncollectible, much of it for inventory from a store that previously closed and the rest on boats that had been sold but not recorded on the tax rolls.
Funding is being sought in the coming years to rework Marquette Road in Rockmart to both change it’s general path and to widen it to allow for cars to pass.