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Sheriff Bryant announces disposal of surplus vehicles at Board of Commissioners February Work Session

AMERICUS – At the Sumter County Board of Commissioners’ monthly work session, which was held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, February 9, Sumter County Sheriff Eric Bryant announced that several of his department’s automobiles surplus automobiles will be either disposed of or put up for sale on the website; www.govdeal.com.

“Basically again, we’re just cleaning up some of these vehicles that are either not being used or out of service,” said Bryant to the BOC. He went on to say that one of the vehicles on the list that he would like to add to the surplus list is a Ford travel trailer that has been in the department’s possession for an extended period of time, but has been damaged to due the weather. Sheriff Bryant asked the BOC that if these surplus vehicles do not sell on govdeal.com, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) would be allowed to scrap them to clean up the area before spring comes.

The vehicles that the SCSO would like to designate as surplus property include a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria that needs engine repair, a 1996 Freightliner Med Convention vehicle that the SCSO doesn’t use, and a 2005 Jayco 28 foot travel trailer that has water damage and mold. Other items that Sheriff Bryant would like to designate as surplus vehicles to be sold or scrapped include a Boss Light Trailer (to be sold for parts only. Trailer isn’t operable), a military generator that is missing parts and needs repair, a military trailer that is not being used and a brown boat that has a bad motor and the inside needs to be repaired.

BOC Board Chairman Mark Waddell asked for a motion for the disposal of surplus property, including the above-mentioned vehicles. The motion stated that if for any reason, these items do not sell on govdeal.com, where the county lists its surplus items, that the SCSO would be allowed to go ahead and scrap these items. Commissioner Clay Jones made a motion for approval and Commissioner William Reid seconded the motion. The BOC took a voted and the motion passed unanimously.

Sheriff Bryant added that things are going well at the SCSO and that his department is still working on “small mechanical things to make sure we keep the building upright and running.” Bryant also added that he will be coming back to the BOC in a few weeks to present to the BOC his department’s SPLOST project in regards to the SCSO’s communication system.

In other news from the work session, the BOC had a discussion about proposed legislation to set compensation for members of the Sumter County Board of Elections (BOE). Sumter County Financial Director Janice Jarvis told the BOC that the Board of Elections desires to propose local legislation to set compensation to attend meetings and for work performed by Board of Elections members on Election Day.

“It would be only in the capacity of Board of Elections members and nothing performed by the poll workers or anything like that,” said Jarvis to the BOC. Jarvis went on to say that the members of the Board of Elections do not desire to get paid any more than the members of any other board get paid.

However, Sumter County Attorney Kimberly Reid told the BOC that under the current local legislation that creates the Board of Elections specifically says that the Board members cannot be compensated. “In order for them to be paid, that local legislation would have to be amended,” said Reid. She went on to say that the Board of Elections is specifically proposing that the local legislation be amended so that the BOE members can be compensated a flat rate for their regular and special called meetings. Reid added that the second thing that the BOE is requesting is that on Election Day, they get paid an hourly rate, which would differ from person to person being that not every BOE member works the same hours on Election Day.

Attorney Reid added that in order for the local legislation to be amended so that the BOE members would be compensated, the resolution would be made by the BOE and the BOC and then sent to the local legislative delegation, asking them to amend the legislation. “Technically, the Board of Elections can request that the change be made without your approval,” said Reid to the BOC. “But, I explained to them (BOE) and they wholeheartedly agree, that they definitely want to have y’all move forward with it and that’s one of the things that the local legislative delegation will ask as well. They want to know that the county is in favor of it because they want to make sure that everyone is on the same page.”

Reid went on to say that the other reason why the BOC should set the compensation is because, in her opinion, the legislative delegation would be more likely to approve compensation if the BOE is not setting its own compensation.

Board Chairman Waddell asked his fellow commissioners for their thoughts on the matter. Commissioner Jones asked how often does the BOE meet. Attorney Reid responded that the BOE generally meets once a month, but will occasionally have special called meetings in the case of a recount or some other special issue. “If there is a year in which there is no county-wide election, they are permitted to have it every other month, but they still generally hold them once a month,” said Attorney Reid.

Waddell asked Jarvis what the hourly rate would be for the BOE members on Election Day. Jarvis replied that it was suggested that the BOE members be paid $10 an hour, but added that the BOE wants the BOC to set the rate. Attorney Reid added that she would like to see the local legislation delegation designate the BOC to set the hourly rate for BOE members. Waddell stated that he knows of another board that is compensated $25 per meeting and asked Attorney Reid if the BOC needs to agree on a $25 per meeting and $10 per hour rate for the BOE and them draft a resolution stating that. Reid responded by saying that she will prepare a joint resolution by the BOE and the BOC and have the BOC take a look at the resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, February 16.

Wen it came time for each department head to give his/her report on happenings in their department, Sumter County Fire and Rescue Chief Jerry Harmon told the BOC that he wanted to get the BOC’s approval to apply for the Georgia Fireworks Grant.

“It’s free money out there. It’s offered by the State of Georgia where they tax the fireworks,” said Harmon. He went on to say that his department was looking to buy some protective hoods for the volunteer firefighters and that they were able to purchase those hoods out of the SCFR’s budget money this year for the paid staff, but have still not been able to come up with the funding to buy the hoods for the volunteers. “What we’re asking for is $3,200.00 and again, it’s off the Fireworks Tax Grant,” said Harmon to the BOC. “I was just wanting to get permission to apply for that grant. The deadline is Friday (February 12). We just found out about it, like, the last Wednesday or Thursday. Board Chairman Waddell asked Harmon if this is something they have done in the past. Harmon replied that this is the first time his department has been involved in this. “This will be our first time for this one here,” said Harmon. “The funding is very limited this year because of the COVID, so I guess the fireworks sales were down. We learned that the funding was limited, but we want to get on board.” Attorney Reid asked Harmon if there was any match to this grant and he replied that there is no match to the grant.

Waddell asked for a motion to approve the SCFR’s application for the Georgia Fireworks Grant. Commissioner Scott Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner William Reid seconded the motion. A vote was taken and the approval passed unanimously.

Harmon also mentioned to the BOC that the SCFR had to close down a grocery store in Leslie: Leslie Grocery. Harmon stated that after an inspection was done, the store was issued a cease and desist notice and it has been shut down for about two weeks now. Harmon added that he and his inspectors revisited the store Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. and found that the store’s ownership has still not met the requirements to open back up. Harmon added that he met with the Leslie City Council on Monday evening, February 8, to show them the photographs showing why the shut down had to be done. Harmon stated that the owners of this establishment had committed a total of 69 violations.