Bulloch County Commissioners met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. Rezoning has dominated the commissioners meeting over the past few months. The announcement of Aspen Aerogels and now Hyundai has amplified demand from developers for land in Southeast Bulloch County. To meet this demand the land has to be rezoned, from primarily agriculture farm land to allow for high density residential growth.

This has created a large amount of interest from land owners and concern by farmers, who don’t want to see precious farm land developed.

rezoning
Bulloch Commissioners meeting for regular session Credit: Grice Connect

The commissioners have decided to push pause on the rezoning of the land most affected by this industrial growth by placing a imposing a moratorium on selected residential rezoning applications in Southeast Bulloch County. The moratorium is effective immediately.

“I want to make one thing clear, the commissioners are not forcing or urging any landowners to sell farmland,” said Roy Thompson, Chair of the Bulloch County Commission. “We don’t have all the answers, don’t know if we have many of the answers, but in order to decrease our mistakes in our decision making we feel like this is the best route (pausing zoning) to take.”

The resolution, which was unanimously approved by commissioners, will impose a moratorium for 180 calendar days on the acceptance of re-zoning applications for property located in the unincorporated area of Southeastern Bulloch County for R-40, R-25, R-15, R-3, R-2, PUD-1, and MHP.

The purpose of the moratorium is to allow time for review and revision of zoning, subdivision, and development ordinances and regulations in anticipation of the significant impact that the new Hyundai plant in Bryan County will have on residential growth in Southeastern Bulloch County.

Property Tax Hearing

The commissioners opened a public hearing for proposed property tax increase opened. Only once citizen, Statesboro Council Lady Shari Barr spoke in the hearing in which she thanked the commissioners in working in keeping cost down for Bulloch taxpayers.

CONSENT AGENDA

Items on the consent agenda are approved with a single vote, instead of going through them one item at a time. Below are the items included in the consent agenda.

APPROVED – Motion to approve the replacement of the audio and visual system for the State Court Room. StageFront handled the original installation of the Audio-Visual equipment in the State Court. Because technology has progressed so rapidly and some components are no longer serviceable, the system is due for an upgrade. The proposal for the upgrade of the equipment plus 1 year maintenance is $106,110.

APPROVED – Motion to approve the renaming of the two sections of County Road No. 779 a/k/a Randy Lowery. The road has been approved to be split into three pieces by the abandonment of the middle section by the Board of Commissioners at the August 2, 2022 meeting. The section to the north will be named North Randy Lowery Road and section to the south will be named South Randy Lowery Road. The section that was abandoned will remain Randy Lowery Road with the distinction of being a private road.

APPROVED – Motion to approve the supplemental agreement #2 for additional scope of services for Heath & Lineback Engineering in the amount of $51,500. Supplemental agreement #2 to allow Heath & Lineback Engineers to expand their scope of services for the design of the S&S Greenway – Phase III project. As a recipient of federal and state grant funding, Bulloch County is required to follow various federal review procedures through multiple agencies. During the design and review process, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has identified additional studies and surveys necessary that were not originally anticipated. Those items consists of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and Soil Survey. Bulloch County is currently awarded $1,594,400 in TAP grant funds to complete the design of the trail expansion. In addition, the county must provide $398,600 in additional matching funds (20%), for a project design total of $1,993,000. This supplemental agreement will result in a total contract price of $861,171.08, which is well below the available grant funds of $1,594,400.

APPROVED – Motion to enter into a contract with Lavender & Associates for a guaranteed maximum price for North Main Annex renovations. Following an RFP and approval by the Board of Commissioners to allow the County Manager to negotiate pricing, Bulloch County is entering into a contract with Lavender & Associates to complete the renovations and expansion of the North Main Annex. This contract is for a guaranteed maximum price of $2,000,000. These funds are budgeted and available from the ARPA funding. Once a final price is received, staff will work with the contractor to value engineer items, or reduce costs, to ensure that the project stays within, or below, the guaranteed maximum price.

APPROVED – Motion grant an alcoholic beverage license for retail beer and wines sales to Megan Collins, TA Operating LLC, located at 2930 Highway 301 South, Register, Georgia 30452. Ms. Collins has met the County’s requirements for the submission of an alcohol application.

APPROVED – Appointment of Tal Johnson to the Development Authority to serve a term beginning August 16, 2022 through June 30, 2023 and the appointment of Greg Proctor to serve a term beginning August 16, 2022 and ending June 30, 2025. Mr. Johnson will be fulfilling the seat vacated by Matt Sawhill and Mr. Proctor will be fulfilling the vacant seat of Bruce Yawn.

APPROVED – Motion to approve a contract renewal by and between Bulloch County Board of Commissioners d/b/a Bulloch County Correctional Institute and Inmate Calling Solutions, LLC d/b/a ICSolutions (ICS). This contract renews the service currently provided by Inmate Calling Solutions (ICS). This company has been providing this service for many years and we have no reason to change providers. This is a revenue only service and Bulloch County does not pay anything for this service.

APPROVEDTemporary Food Sales and Service permit for the Willow Hill Heritage Festival which will be held from September 2 through September 4, 2022.

NEW BUSINESS

APPROVED – Motion to approve 12 portable radios, shoulder mics, and programming from MAC to outfit career and volunteer firefighters. The fire department has recently added six new volunteers. They need a portable radio to communicate to 911 and to other firefighters to ensure safe operations on the fire ground. Also, the commissioners have approved six career personnel slated to hired in October. They are in need of a portable radio for the same reasons stated above.

Public Comments/presentations and staff reports

Jacob Jackson
Credit: Grice Connect

Dink Butler, Bulloch Public Works Director introduced Jacob Jackson to the commissioner. Jacob has been promoted from field superintendent with public works to the Assistant Director of Public Works.

Paula Hall
Paula Hall, V.P. FTB Credit: Grice Connect

Paul Hall, Vice President of Feed The Boro addressed the board of commissioners, giving them an update on the organizations monthly food drops. She noted that on Saturday, August 20 they will distribute their 1 millionth meal to a Bulloch County family. Hall presented a video of the food distribution and requested $7,500 of funding from the county to help fund future food drops. Chairman Thompson thanked Feed the Boro for their wonderful work and said they would take the request under consideration.

Bulloch County resident Marcus Toole, encouraged the commissions to consider allowing high density growth in the southern end of the county on land close to the interstate. He pointed out that by concentrating growth in an area close to the interstate would help with future road infrastructure concerns.

Marcus Toole
Marcus Toole Credit: Grice Connect

Toole addressed the commision at the beginning of the meeting. Later in the meeting, commissioners passed a moratorium on rezoning of land in this area to study the best options for development.

WORK SESSION- SANITATION STUDY

John Culbertson, a principle with MSW Consultants based out of Orlando, Florida presented a comprehensive solid waste study to the commissioners. Waste management, especially the operations of the 21 waste collection sites have become an area of concern for citizens and the commission.

Culbertson’s study addresses several options to help manage this problem and alternative sources of funding. You can view the full presentation below.

Full Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Agenda with supporting documents:

Watch the meeting below:

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...