The Charlton County Board of Commissioners met Thursday, December 17 for the last time in 2020. Commissioner Drew Jones was absent.

During the meeting, the board discussed the motor grader and backhoe lease and buyback options. The county has three motor grader leases, which will end in March of 2021 and a backhoe lease ending in February. Road Department Superintendent Ronnie Pollock, along with County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, recommended the commissioners take the buy-out option on the backhoe and make the balloon payment of $81,352.71 and keep it. The two also suggested leasing two motor graders at $2,770.00 every month, each. The two will discuss whether the third grader is needed. If the third one is needed, the county may have TSPLOST funds, which could be used to pay for the third. If it is decided to keep the third grader, Raulerson recommended purchasing a 48-month warranty for $137,430.00. The board agreed and the motion was approved.

The public hearing for the street abandonment for New Life Baptist Church was held before the meeting, at which no one objected. The abandonment was advertised and with a maintenance easement in place, the motion was made and passed unanimously.

Changes were made to the county budget, which was to account for additional revenues collected this fiscal year. Excluding the River Road TSPLOST project funds, the county has received $1,573,566.10 in unbudgeted revenues. The four largest revenues that were over projection or unbudgeted were the CARES ACT at $388,105.74, Landfill Host Fees at $352,587.87, Landfill Tipping Fees at $290,800.60 and Group Health Reimbursement at $197,039.78. In expenditures, the regional River Road TSPLOST Project has been completed at  $1,635,242.16. Group insurance was also amended, adding $440,050.00. Other lines were adjusted with the rest being set aside for contingency. A large portion will be used to pay the amount owed for the recent settlement. A motion was made to accept the amendment and was passed unanimously.

Raulerson alerted the board the Superior Court Judges are asking for an increase to their local supplement from every county in the circuit. They are asking $40 a month per judge, totaling $1,920.00 annually, plus a contribution of $146.88 to FICA. The motion was made and passed unanimously.

The Board of Commissioners also renewed its agreement with the Charlton County Board of Education for a school resource officer. There is currently an officer stationed at St. George Elementary School. The BOE agreed to pay $33,609.50 a year for the officer. The sheriff-elect has asked that the amount be added to the deputy salary line item in the budget for this individual. The motion was passed unanimously.

The board voted to approve the resolution to adopt an annual working operating budget for the year 2021. There are changes to be made before the final approval, but the resolution was passed.

The commissioners reached an agreement with Bobby Bass and Ben Rodgers in order to fix and maintain an inlet pipe and overflow pipe on Bass’ property. The county had water flowing from Lakewood Drive to his pond, but due to mass amounts of rain, the overflow pipe was damaged. The county will install a new overflow pipe and extend the inlet pipe to the pond so that water is not running across open ground to reach the pond. A motion was made and passed unanimously.

Before adjourning, the board heard from Ronnie Pollock who stated he appreciates the commissioners’ support of the road department with all it has needed this year and he appreciates the men he works with. Commissioners Jesse Crews thanked him for his and the crews’ hard work. Commissioner Alphya Benefield thanked everyone in attendance and wished them all a Merry Christmas. Commissioner Chairman James Everett expressed his appreciation for the Christmas music which was played on Main Street by the Cane Pole Café’ and that he enjoyed the Christmas Parade.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, January 7 at 6:00 p.m.