Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oconee County BOC Gives Citizen Committee OK to Make Presentation on Courthouse

Just a Recommendation

The Oconee County Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee got the blessing from the Board of Commissioners tonight to go ahead with its plans to show the public its PowerPoint presentation justifying its recommendation that the county build a separate judicial facility near the jail.

The presentation probably will be in October, but not at the regular meeting of the committee on Oct. 12, since that conflicts with a rescheduled meeting of the BOC.

In the meantime, the board is going forward with its plans to remodel the Government Annex on Greensboro highway on the south side of Watkinsville.

It voted tonight to spend up to an initial $2,990 to hire R.W. Allen, an Augusta company with offices in Athens, as construction manager at risk for the project.

In addition, the board decided that it will hold a public meeting on Sept. 21, probably at the Annex, to allow citizens to review options for the renovation of the facility, which currently houses the Utility Department, Public Works Department and the offices for the Fire Department.

At the Aug. 3 meeting, the BOC approved a contract of up to $74,500 with Precision Planning Inc. of Lawrenceville for architectural services for the renovation.

Commissioner Chuck Horton told Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee Chairman Abe Abouhamdan (right) tonight to make clear at its meeting that no decision had been made on the committee recommendation.

Abouhamdan responded that he knew that only the BOC could decide on what the county should do regarding what the committee has been calling judicial and administrative facilities for the county.

The committee met for a year before it reached its recommendation in March that the county separate judicial facilities from the present courthouse and build a new judicial facility somewhere near the current jail on Experiment Station road.

It has spent the time since that decision working on a PowerPoint presentation to convince the public that it has made the right decision.

The BOC sent the issue of the future of the courthouse to the land use committee in March of 2009.

Board members tonight suggested that the committee might use the public hearing to get citizen feedback as well as make its case for its recommendation, though the committee has been clear as it discussed its presentation that the goal was to justify the decision it had reached.

“I think that is a great idea, personally to hold a public meeting, and get more public input,” Commissioner Margaret Hale told Abouhamdan.