The Charlton County Board of Commissioners met in St. George Thursday, June 18.

During the meeting, commissioners discussed changes for the permit fee schedule. Permit costs will now be on a value-based system. The type of build, materials and its purpose will determine the price. All initial permits for new builds will include electrical and concrete permits (if specified). Those wishing for an open building without concrete or electricity will save money on the first permit, but will have to pay for the additional permits when either is being added. The commission unanimously approved the change. The commission also voted to make permit fees for used mobile homes a flat rate of $625.00, as two inspections are required and may include travel.

Also during the meeting, the commissioners heard from Dr. Thomas with Unison Behavioral Health who announced the facility will be moving locations from Homeland Park Road to Kingsland Drive (located on the corner of Kay Street and Highway 40). The commission agreed to contribute $5,700.00 to Unison to help cover the costs of services provided to the county.

Charlton County Chief Appraiser Lane York alerted the commissioners on the receipt of the 2019 Sales Ratio Study. The study shows if a property is being sold for its true value or if the amount is higher or lower than the sold price. It is also used as proof for the state to determine if the assessor’s office is doing its job correctly and if the county’s digest may be passed. York shared the county is within compliance at 38.32 percent, which falls in the approved range of 36 to 44 resulting in no changes to the digest. 

Other news: the board approved the invoice for Charlton Electric in the amount of $5,524.70. The cost was to cover extra damage to the light poles at the baseball fields from bats. The cost will be covered using Recreation SPLOST funds.

The commissioners awarded the West Mims Fire site prep and replanting bid to Callahan Timber for the amount of $1,058,119.91. The total budget for the project is $1,464,981.00. This is to begin restoration on timber property destroyed by the West Mims Fire. Commissioner Jesse Crews abstained from the vote.

The board recently voted to approve the purchase of a 2020, 326 Excavator, however, due to supply chain issues; the machine may not be available until October. Because of this, CAT offered a $10,000.00 part and service credit and a four-year (or 2,000 hours) preemptive maintenance agreement if the county agrees to purchase a 2019 model. Road Superintendent Ronnie Pollock stated he was fine with this option. The motion was made and passed unanimously.

Antwon Nixon, of Folkston, addressed the commissioners in regards to park closing hours – specifically Chatman-Mobley Park where many children play basketball. The board recently made the decision to shut down county-run parks at 7:00 p.m. Nixon shared he believed this was too early. He stated it is too hot to play before 6:00 p.m. and asked that the time be pushed back to 9:00 p.m. He also shared he, along with others, have started a boys ministry which is to help community youth curb their behavior and learn to take responsibility of their actions. He shared his biggest concern is making sure the kids playing on the courts after hours are not in trouble for simply playing and feels closing the parks at 9:00 p.m. would give the kids enough time to play, but also get them home at a decent hour. He also stated he feels law enforcement needs to be more present in the area. Commissioner Alphya Benefield told Nixon she applauds him for his work with the youth and said she has waited on someone like him all of her years serving on the commission. She expressed she has received numerous complaints about the happenings at this park and was told visitors at the park have been non-compliant with law enforcement. Commissioner Crews shared the request for the curfew was made by the Folkston Police Department and Charlton County Sheriff’s Office. He recommended Nixon speak with two departments, let the officers speak to the Recreation Board, and stated he will bring it back to the commission.

The board also heard from Tim Beard who has been facing issues with flooding at his home. He shared the current culverts will not handle the water amount and stated this was never a problem growing up. He said the   Commissioner Luke Gowen stated the county has sent someone to survey the area to assess what can be done to correct the problem. He also shared there is discussion on what survive a “100-year storm”.  Beard asked the commission to keep him up to date. County Administrator Hampton Raulerson agreed to do so.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, July 2 at the BOC Conference Room beginning at 6:00 p.m.