By Mark Thomason, Publisher:
Newly elected commission chairman Stan Helton led his first official full board meeting Tuesday, December 10, at the Fannin County courthouse.
Helton brought immediate change to the format of the county meetings by moving public commentary to the beginning of each meeting. In doing so the agenda allowed a 30 minute maximum time slot for public comments, which limits each speaker to a three minute timeframe. Fannin County resident Ralph Garner was the only attendee to speak at the meeting, bringing up three issues. Garner first praised Chairman Helton for his willingness to be transparent and welcomed him into office. Garner also inquired as to the promised GBI audit of former recreation director Bernie Hoskins and closed out by commending former county financial director Rita Kirby for always quickly responding to any open records request that he had submitted.
The meeting then turned to new business where Aska Rd. resident Rita Oberle urged the commission board to please consider paving 3/10th a mile of Shallowford Bridge Road. Oberle submitted a petition signed by several nearby homeowners declaring the dust coming from the road as intolerable.
Sherry Morris of Family Connections offered updates about what the center actually does. Mrs.Morris said the food pantry served 17,194 people last year and offered a place to stay for homeless and slept 2,948 bed nights. Morris also asked if the county would continue to serve as the fiscal agent for the center and closed by mentioning how the shelter could use volunteers.
Newly named Director of Public Works in Fannin County, Zack Ratcliff, offered an update concerning county road conditions following the recent winter storm. Ratcliff said 125 tons of salt was used as crews worked overnight Friday and most allday on Saturday. Despite the ice and snow Ratcliff was able to have the county roads passable using only 438 man hours of labor. Several comments followed saying that county roads were in better driving condition than state routes.
Finally, Chairman Helton suggested adding a monthly workshop meeting. Helton discussed possibly having the workshops on the third Wednesday of each month. Both post commissioners, after some short discussion, agreed to see how it works and the board scheduled the first one for next Wednesday at 6pm.