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County wide Water Plan Considered

The Manchester Star-Mercury of Manchester, Georgia

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The Meriwether County Commission covered several topics during a work session held Tuesday night to help the board determine what direction to take for the future of the county. The topics included county wide water, recreation, roads, capital replacement for equipment and more.

The first topic of discussion was about county wide water.

County Manager Theron Gay basically told the board it needed to look at working with municipalities and surrounding counties as a water source that is readily available.

HE EXPLAINED it would be a lesser expensive way to grow the system than having to construct a water treatment facility.

"We need water for growth," he told the board. "Growth usually follows water lines."

"It's a shame we have not given the citizens water," said Commissioner Bryan Thread gill. "We are making a bond payment of $90,000 a month for the next 20 years and no one has water except for the industrial park."

GAY POINTED OUT that if the county would spend funds to run water lines through purchasing water from municipalities and surrounding counties, the county would generate some income from the water.

After some discussion, the board decided to have a meeting with the Water and Sewer Authority to discuss the matter more.

Commissioner Shirley Hines addressed the board and citizens and told the board the county's comprehensive plan, which was completed in 2008, was a road map for the long-range plans and vision of the county.

She pointed out the county had completed several of the plans including, but not limited to, a county wide recreation program, a county transportation program and others.

Hines stated the board needed to review the comprehensive plan and make updates and changes to further meet the needs of the citizens of the county.

The board agreed.

The commissioners also discussed roads and transportation needs, which are many and the board is aware of that.

However, Gay pointed out to the board that strides had been made in that area after meetings with the Department of Transportation and CSX Railroad.

"I think both were responsive and we need to continue to develop a relationship with them," Gay said. "They seemed willing to help us."

The commission is also concerned that no roads have been paved in the county in several years, for the exception of Allie Road. The cost of that project was about $1 million dollars.

THE COUNTY is going to look into ways to try and find a reasonable solution to its paving needs.

Gay also pointed out that the Public Works Department is in need of equipment, which has created not as much road work this year.

"If the equipment is breaking down and we're having to repair it, that means a day lost of working on roads," he said.

The board requested a list of equipment to help them determine what equipment may need replacing.

Gay also pointed out that the county does not have a capital replacement program and stated that is not good for the county or its citizens.

"If we are not on a five or 10-year program to replace equipment, trucks and cars then all of a sudden one day instead of needing a few we are going to need a lot and that is going to be costly," he said.

The board agreed to look into allocating funds for a capital replacement program.

Gay also complimented the county's volunteer fire fighters for a job well done, and done with very little funding.

"As you all know we allocated about $98,000 per year to the fire department and that is a very little amount," he said.

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Original Publication Date: October 7, 2015

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