The Charlton County Commission held its quarterly meeting in the St. George Community Room Thursday, September 19. Commissioner Luke Gowen was absent.

During the meeting, commissioners were given a presentation from Greg Reese, with GMASS, on the Charlton County Maintenance Proposal. The purpose of the business would be to assist the Assessors Office with the new Tax Digest. The company would do on-site data entry, which would be sent directly to the office in order to receive the most accurate information. The county would own all data entered. Chief Appraiser, Layne York, stated the county is currently in danger of being noncompliant with the state. The agreement would be for three years. The motion was made and passed unanimously.

Also during the meeting, commissioners accepted the resignation of Chandler Crumbley, who has served on the Board of Assessors for 33 years. The board also approved a proclamation making September 19 Chandler Crumbley Day in recognition of his leadership and dedication.

The commissioners approved the Memorandum of Agreement between the county and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The county uses this system to send alerts to the community during emergencies via land line phone calls, cell phone calls, or text messages.

The approval of a resolution for an alleyway abandonment in St. George for Amber and Justin Dunlap was approved, as well as the approval of a variance request for David Gorney and Beverly Farr for a .96-acre lot.

A temporary easement for Ingress and Egress with Rayonier Forest Resources, L.P. was approved unanimously. This agreement will allow temporary access to property used as a detour during the improvements and closure of Ralph Davis Road Bridge for 151 days, beginning November 1, 2019 to March 1, 2020. 

The board approved the agreement for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Incentive Grant award. This award agreement is for the development of a Nine-Element EPA Watershed Management Plan for Spanish Creek. The Spanish Creek Watershed is in the St. Marys River Basin. The creek, which drains the populated central part of the county was determined to be impaired for fecal coliform and low dissolved oxygen in 1998. It is currently classified as partially supporting its designated use of fishing. The grant states, “The 2002 TMDL Implementation Plan identified both point and nonpoint sources as potential causes for impairment in Spanish Creek.Potential point sources included the Folkston Water Pollution Control Plant and Folkston Pond. Possible non-point sources were the Folkston Pond spray field, leaking septic tanks, pet waste, illegal discharge, runoff through stormwater sewers, infiltration/inflow problems with the city sewer system, runoff from livestock operations and background wildlife fecal matter”. The purpose of this grant is to perform targeted water quality monitoring and to develop a program that establishes and prioritizes the actions necessary to achieve the load reductions. For the project, the commissioners approved an agreement with Goodwyn Mills and Cawood, Inc. as consultants for the watershed plan for the cost of $29,000.00 or on an hourly basis. The grant is scheduled to begin October 1, 2019 and will continue for 12 months through September 30, 2020. The consultant will complete the work by the September 30 date. 

Also during the meeting, the board received a request from Waste Management at Chesser Island Road Landfill to renew the 2015 approval for continuation of the dumping of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR). Keystone Jacksonville Terminal has been sending the coal ash to the landfill since 2017. The request states “CCR is regulated as a non-hazardous waste on the federal and state levels and is non-toxic”. The agreement was passed with a three-to-one vote, with Commissioner Drew Jones opposing.

In other business, the commissioners approved the following purchases for the Charlton County Sheriff’s Office with the department’s Drug Education Funds: a 2020 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 for $17,845.00; a 2018 E-Z Go Valor Golf Cart for $7,200.00; and two 2020 8.5x16 V Nose Tandem Axle Diamond Cargo Trailers for $8,386.00. 

The commissioners also approved the purchase of a new air conditioning unit for the Health Department from Gantt Air Condition & Heating for $12,900.00; new pipes for the Road Department from Engineering & Equipment Co. for $13,480.49; and switching to Brantley Telephone Company at the courthouse and annex building for phone and internet services for the monthly cost of $250.00 with no contract.

The Land Use Element Agreement between Charlton County and the Southern Georgia Regional Commission for the Joint 2020 Comprehensive Plan Update was approved unanimously. The agreement must be updated every five years. The agreement is to ensure the update is in compliance the Chapter 110-2-1 Minimum Standards. The county will pay the SGRC $8,000.000  for their services.

An announcement was made during the meeting of land donations made by Toldeo to Charlton County. The board voted in 2018 to accept a donation of land from Toledo at the burnt fort landing. County attorney John Adams asked the board to reconfirm the vote upon the completion of the deed with a survey. The plan is to have DNR construct a parking lot similar to the one at Traders Hill.

In other business, Raymond Roberts and Jesse Crews were reappointed to the Recreation Board, whose terms expired March 1, 2019. The board approved a proclamation submitted by Southeast Georgia Health System, making Friday, October 11 Pink Out Friday. Municipalities are encouraged to wear the color pink in support of those who have and are fighting against Breast Cancer.

The Charlton County Board of Commissioners will hold the monthly workshop Thursday, October 10 in the commissioner’s board room.