By Shelby Roberts Bennett and Marla Ogletree

On October 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. the City of Homeland had a called meeting. The meeting was called to adopt the 2020 Joint Comprehensive plan that cities, Folkston and Homeland and the county had to approve. The resolution was adopted and the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting was scheduled for November 12 at 7:00 p.m.

The council met Thursday, November 12, during which the council agreed to purchase updated software for the Homeland Police Department pending a corrected invoice. The purchase will bring the department into compliance and make the jobs of the officers easier. The city has funds budgeted for the purchase, which will cost approximately $2,900.00. The city must pay a $1,600.00 deposit and $350.00 each month. 

Also during the meeting, Councilman Kip Taylor, a member of the fireboard, shared Charlton County Fire Rescue is still short-staffed on volunteers.

Public Works member Bobby Brantley shared the water leak on Nature Trails Estate has been fixed. He also stated the work for the new well is still in progress and may not be finished until April. He also stated the fence around the installation site needs to be put up and reminded the council Waughtel Park is still closed, though visitors still try to enter. The council discussed options to deter the congregation of buzzards on the water tower. The tower is sealed and the birds cannot access the water, but a solution still needs to be sought. The council agreed to look into a resolution.

Water Operator and Public Works member Wesley Crews alerted the council many dead trees and limbs have been taken down and the crew will continue to address any trees needing attention. He said the sanitation department is working well, but he suggested purchasing more tote-style cans. The current cans are being slung by the truck and are continuing to need repair. The council suggested slowing down the hydraulics and agreed to look into purchasing more cans. It was also made known Advance Disposal has been picking up cans from Homeland. Councilman Mark Williams stated he believes the cans belong to Homeland and will look into the agreement. The city now has two working trash trucks as the old one has been repaired and is in working order. Crews also shared there were 355 drums of litter picked up around the Dogwood area. 

The fence line at Mayor Austin Hickox Memorial Park, the walking track and sidewalks have been sprayed for sandspurs. The cemetery will be sprayed once the ground is dry.

Councilman Jon Finsness shared with the council the dumpster is still being used regularly and is emptied ever two to three weeks. He shared there is still trash being put out on the road though there are set days for collection of white goods. The council shared citizens can call to have trash picked up if needed between the scheduled days. Finsness also suggested placing flyers alerting citizens of possible fines.

The public works department is continuing work on the LMIG projects of widening both East and West Hazel Streets. One third of Nature Trails Estate is finished.

Councilwoman Lisa Nettles went over the proposed budget for 2021. She alerted the council there is $25,000.00 in SPLOST funds, which is to be used to purchase a police vehicle, however, the city is not expecting to receive the total until 2021.Projects that are currently being worked on using 2020 funds will not be finished until the new year. The council will review the budget at future meetings and eventually approve the final budget. Projects that are currently being worked on using 2020 funds will not be finished until the new year. The council will review the budget at following meetings and eventually approve the final budget.

Councilman Finsness read the new section six of the Clean Community Ordinance. The change must be read once more at the next meeting before finally being approved.

Councilman Williams is researching new grant to work in conjunction with the current LMIG projects. He hopes the possible funds could help finish the city’s projects. He shared there is no cash match and there is a good chance the city could qualify for the grant.

The council discussed the city Christmas dinner and set the date for the annual Christmas program for December 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The council will follow all social distancing guidelines. The council also discussed having the laptops donated to the Homeland Police Department upgraded and working with the new software. The project will cost less than $400.00.

Homeland citizen Billy Geiger addressed the board with concerns of the overgrowth of a bush located on El Terrace as it blocks a stop sign and may cause safety issues. He also suggested changing the yield sign on Peach Street to stop sign as citizens are not stopping for oncoming traffic. He also shared there have been four-wheelers riding on the dirt piles to be used for the work on E. Hazel. He was asked to call authorities should he see it happening again.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m.