First meeting of 2019 includes renewal of court contracts

Commissioner approves community development, transportation agreements

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Agreements were the name of the game at the first Bartow County Commissioner's meeting of the new year, as Commissioner Steve Taylor signed off on about a dozen agenda items Wednesday.

Regarding county finance, Taylor gave his approval to amend the local government's continuing disclosures policy and procedures as mandated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC.)

"This is a response to an SEC rule change that amended a regulation about things that anybody who's issued a bond has to disclose, so we have some outstanding bonds and we are just amending our disclosure policy to formalize that we will comply," said Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson.

Taylor also applied his signature to adopt an amended Title VI Public Transportation Plan.

"Because we receive federal funds, we have to comply with Title VI, which relates to non-discrimination, so it just updates our policy and compliance with the latest federal regulations," Olson said.

Also approved was a consultation agreement between the county and engineering firm exp U.S. Services, Inc.

"We're getting to do a study on the interchange at Cass-White Road and I-75," Olson said. "That bridge is starting to see a whole lot of traffic. It's really a federal bridge because it's the interstate system, but we thought we could help along with the process of getting a lighting project going if we could start generating some traffic data to justify it."

That was followed by a trifecta of agreements with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) — all of which included an 80/20 matching formula, with GDOT picking up the bill for four-fifths of costs and the local government paying off the remaining one-fifth of expenses.

That includes $168,000 in funding for the operation of the Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), an additional $70,000 in funding for an update to the MPO's Long-Range Transportation Plan and $60,000 in funding for a feasibility study that would evaluate the possibility of constructing new railroad overpasses along the downtown Cartersville corridor.

Taylor also approved an agreement to renew the county's indigent defense contract.

"This is the annual agreement with the circuit public defender to provide criminal defense to those who are indigent," Olson said.

An agreement to extend a family treatment court program contract for the local juvenile court was approved, as well.

Another item approved by Taylor would allow Bartow County to partner with the Good Shepherd Foundation to make an application to the Department of Community Affairs for a potential Community Development Block Grant.

"Good Shepherd, as you know, provides a sheltered work center out on Gilreath Road for disabled and developmentally-challenged adults," said Bartow County Grant Writing Department Director Valerie Gilreath. "This grant would allow them to purchase the facility that they're in, which they've been renting for a number of years, and once it's purchased, they can renovate and upgrade it to better suit their existing clients as well as expand their independent living training."

Wednesday's public meeting included one new appointment, as an item to place James Satterfield on the Tallatoona Community Action Partnership board received Taylor's signature.

Taylor concluded the meeting by approving a triangular agreement between the county government, Matthews Garage, Inc. and Dive Georgia, LLC "to provide a training resource" for the Bartow County dive team.

Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap explained his department's plans for an old rescue truck — initially given to the county by the City of Kingston in the early 1980s — that they couldn't get titled to resell. 

"We're going to take that truck, have the drivetrain, the fluids and everything removed from it to make it [Environmental Protection Agency]-compliant and we're going to sink it in the quarry up at White," Millsap said, referring to the Kraken Springs Scuba and Watersports Park operated by Dive Georgia. "We'll be able to use it for our training, victim extrication, things like that, doing our underwater training with the dive team."

Such is a win-win-win situation for all parties involved, Millsap continued.

"When we're not there, obviously, they've got recreational divers stuff … it's stuff they can look at, so it's actually an attraction for them," he said. "It's kind of working out between the three to where it's not going to cost us any money and we'll get the free training and everything out of it this way."