Saturday, September 28, 2019

Oconee County To Have Its First Public Outdoor Pickleball Court At Herman C. Michael Park

***Board Responds To Public Request***

The many pickleball enthusiasts who turned out at the Oconee County Town Hall meeting in February got the good news on Tuesday that the county will resurface the six tennis courts at Herman C. Michael Park on Hog Mountain Road and stripe two of the courts for their sport.

The Board at its meeting on Tuesday tentatively agreed to a contract with Advance Athletic Services LLC of Dublin for $56,698 for resurfacing the two quick start courts and the four regulation tennis courts.

The two quick start courts will include painted lines for pickleball.

In other action, the Board tentatively approved an agreement between the county and the newly created Tourism and Visitors Bureau spelling out how money from the Hotel-Motel Sales And Use Tax will be allocated.

The Board also gave tentative approval to purchase of a new engine for Fire Station Number 5 on SR 15 (Greensboro Highway) in the far south of the county and to spending $2.1 million for resurfacing of residential roads in the county.

Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell announced at the beginning of the meeting that the next Town Hall Meeting will be 6 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Oconee Veterans Park.

Daniell said the meeting will include a discussion of Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir in Walton County and of the work of the county’s Economic Development Taskforce.

Herman C. Michael

County Administrator Justin Kirouac told the Board that funds for the resurfacing of the six tennis courts at Herman C. Michael Park are included in the current budget for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Kirouac with County Clerk Kathy Hayes 9/24/2019

“They are in dire need of resurfacing,” Kirouac said of the courts.

Kirouac said the county issued an invitation to bid for the resurfacing work but did not get any response so went to Advance Athletic Services LLC for a bid for the project.

The contract proposed by Kirouac is for $22,886 for the two quick start or mini courts and $33,812 for the four regulation tennis courts.

The Board put the contract on its consent agenda, meaning it will approve it at its meeting on Tuesday without discussion unless a commissioner asks it to be removed from the consent agenda.

About 75 people turned at the Town Hall meeting in February, and many of them asked the county to provide outdoor pickleball courts. The county does not have any at present.

Tourism And Visitors Bureau

The Board of Commissioners approved the creation of the Tourism and Visitors Bureau earlier this year to serve as the 501c6 organization to oversee tourism efforts in the county.

The Bureau will use Hotel-Motel Sales And Use Tax funds for promoting tourism in the county as prescribed by state law governing that tax.

The Tourism and Visitors Bureau replaces the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, which had been utilized as the 501c6 organization in the past.

The agreement put on the consent agenda for final action next week specifies that 40 percent of the revenue from the tax will be retained by the county, as allowed by law, with the remaining 60 percent going to the Bureau.

The 40 percent will be used for the salary of the director of Tourism, Kirouac told the Board. The county can also use that money to provide other services to the Bureau.

The Board of Commissioners in June appointed a seven-member Board of Directors to oversee the operation of the Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

The county budget lists $182,542 in revenue from the Hotel-Motel tax for the fiscal year that began on July 1.

Fire Truck And Roads

County Fire Chief Bruce Thaxton recommended to the Board that it purchase a 2019 Sutphen Engine for Fire Station Number 5 for $494,558, with the money coming from 2015 SPLOST Funds.

The new engine will replace a 1989 engine at the station, and that 1989 engine will become a reserve, Thaxton told the Board.

Thaxton said on Tuesday that the station will have to be expanded to accommodate the new Engine.

Jessica Jackson from the Public Works Department told the Board that the county will resurface 8 miles of residential roads this year, with the roads chosen based on their condition.

Included are more than half-mile stretches of Allgood Road, Spartan Lane, Twelve Oaks Circle, Stonebridge Parkway, Latham Drive, White Oaks Drive, and Dials Plantation Drive, and shorter stretches of 15 other roads.

The money will come from the Georgia Department of Transportation annual allocation and local Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue.

The Board put both items on the consent agenda for final action on Tuesday.

Strategic Plan Update

County Administrator Kirouac provided the Board with an update on the county’s Strategic Plan during the second half of the relatively short meeting.

Kirouac Provides Update On Strategic Plan 9/24/2019

Kirouac said the county has completed a number of activities under the Smart Government Goal, including improving the county web site and expanded use of social media.

Under the Smart Growth Goal, Kirouac said, the county is 90 percent complete with revisions to the Unified Development Code.

The county is currently undertaking an inventory of all of its historical structures, Kirouac said, to “determine what it would take to bring everything up to acceptable standards.”

The third goal is Smart Infrastructure, and Kirouac said the request for proposals for the broadband loop the county plans to build “is about to hit the street, hopefully by the end of the month.” It is being reviewed by the state Department of Community Affairs, he said.

Kirouac said some of the plans are dependent on whether the Board “has the desire to move forward” with a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which has to be approved by the voters.

The final goal is Quality of Life, and Kirouac said the county will be looking at ways to develop as parkland the Land Application System site on Rocky Branch Road and the land purchased on the Middle Oconee that will not be needed for a future wastewater treatment plant.

“A lot of discussion has gone on so far on the Rails To Trails,” Kirouac. “Obviously, it involves a seller, a buyer and money. Right now we don’t have a Rails To Trails, but it something we will continue to work on.”


The video below is of the entire meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Sept. 24.

Discussion of the engine for Fire Station Number 5 begins at 3:01 in the video.

Kirouac discussed the agreement with the Tourism and Visitors Bureau at 4:26 in the video.

Kirouac made his report on the Herman C. Michael Park at 6:00 in the video.

Jackson made her comments starting at 7:07 in the video.

Kirouac began his review of the County Strategic Plan at 9:26 in the video.


Xardox said...

Oh, yeah, tourism is an important part of Oconee County,
worthy of a tax dollar expenditure.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers- follow the dollars on that boondoggle. It is a very enlightening exercise.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Chamber will consume the Tourism & Visitors Bureau and assume those duties, not the other way round. "The Tourism and Visitors Bureau replaces the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, which had been utilized as the 501c6 organization in the past." Thanks.