The Upson County Board of Commissioners is in the process of discussing what it will cost to install electrical power to the Sprewell Bluff Overlook and has spoken with Upson EMC about the fee. According to Commissioner Steve Hudson, the cost of running electricity to the area is $15,420. He noted that he had discussed the matter with Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder, who serves on the EMC board, to see if a lower cost could be agreed upon, however Wilder stated that since the EMC is a member-owned utility, the cost could not be passed on to members down the line.
“It’s kind of like we don’t have a choice,” said Hudson in response to paying the cost.
He stated he had looked into using solar panels to power the facility that will be built at the overlook; however it is not a reliable source for the electricity. Hudson also told the board that the county will have to pay for the right of way for two properties which will be affected by either a utility pole or the route of the lines. The lines will only be crossing a piece of property and limbs will need to be trimmed so as not to interfere with the electric lines, therefore the county will have to obtain an easement from the property owner. Upson EMC has told Hudson that they would maintain the right of way after the county pays for the initial cutting.
Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston made a motion to table the matter and take no action until the right of ways have been acquired and cleared. The rest of the board unanimously agreed.
County Manager Jim Wheeless informed the board about the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Transition Plan which was in need of their approval. Wheeless noted that this plan is not just for individuals with physical handicaps, but covers everything including vision, hearing and speech. It outlines how the county will provide services to those individuals. Public Buildings Director Paul Rogers is in the process of assessing the county buildings to see what accommodations, if any, need to be made and a committee has been put together to help with carrying out the plan. The board passed the plan unanimously.
The commissioners voted to donate a small brick building to the Sunset Village Corporation, located on Lucille Drive. County Attorney Ed Trice stated the brick building, once a well house used for the Sunset Village Water System and now owned by the county, is sitting on a piece of land that is owned by the Sunset Village Corporation. The building is of no use to the county and can only be removed by tearing the structure down.
The issue of terminating several lease agreements with the Office Building Authority for land at the Thomaston-Upson County Airport also came up at the meeting. Trice told the board the money was borrowed by the county for hangars at the airport through the Office Building Authority (OBA), because the Airport Authority could not borrow the money on their own at the time. The county paid the lease agreements and all have been paid off. Trice also noted each lease agreement stated the county could buy back the property for $1, and Commissioner Hudson stated he would like to exercise that option. According to Chairman Blackston the amount of the total assets for the agreements is $12,800,000.
Blackston also stated he thought in September 2009, the OBA had proposed deeding all the property back to the airport authority without offering the county the option of buying it back. Trice said that he has not checked in to see if that was the case, but that the lease purchase agreements would be superior to those titles even if they did. He also suggested that the board discuss the matter with the airport authority to clear up the issues before any decision was made. The board agreed and tabled the matter until they could set up a meeting.
Finally, the county is looking to sell a piece of property which is located on Old County Road and originally housed several county dumpsters. The property will be advertised for sale and bids will be accepted. Commissioner Ralph Ellington stated he had been out to the location and commended the gentleman who owns the property adjacent to the area for doing such a good job of keeping it cleaned up.