MOULTRIE — Meeting with a reduced number and with heavy hearts, the Colquitt County Board of Commissioners heard citizens concerns Monday regarding three main issues: land use planning, garbage collection and emergency management.

The meeting Monday was the first county commission meeting since the death of Commissioner Merle Hall Dec. 13. A single flower was placed at her seat on the commission, and Chairman Max Hancock requested a moment of silence following the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance. The commission also declared Monday, Dec. 19, 2005, as Merle C. Hall Recognition Day and read the proclamation to the audience.

Following the remembrance of Hall, the commission returned to business as Wayne Norman came forward to discuss the county’s land use and zoning plan. He asked if any changes made to the plan would be available for public viewing before they were voted on by the commission.

Hancock said any changes that may be made to the zoning and land use plan were required by law to be made public before a decision is made. County Attorney Bill McCalley said state law requires a public hearing be held anywhere between 15 and 45 days before action can be taken by the commission.

Norman expressed concern over the commission not having citizen’s input on the land use and zoning plan. He urged commissioners to include input from farmers, who he said are some of the best conservationists. Hancock said, however, the public will have an opportunity to give their input on the plan “one way or another.”

Norman also requested the commission wait until a replacement for Hall’s commission seat can be filled before any further action is taken on the plan. Hancock said the land use and zoning plan debate has already been going on for a year and may go until Hall’s seat is filled, but he felt the commission would waste their time if it was not resolved before the seat was filled.

Following Norman, Pete Reizman, Colquitt County solid waste compliance officer, came before the commission and said his department has been inundated with complaints about garbage service in the county, receiving as many as 64 calls in an 11-day period. He has been in touch with Trans-Waste Services, who handles the trash pickup for Colquitt County, but he said there has been a significant lack of communication between him and the company.

The citizens of Colquitt County deserve better trash service than what they currently have with Trans-Waste Services, Reizman said. The company has been paying refunds or not taking payments for non-service, he said. McCalley said he has sent a letter to Trans-Waste, but he has not yet heard back from them.

The county has two options for the trash service, McCalley said: They can continue to allow Trans-Waste to try to correct the trash problem, or the county can file a claim against Trans-Waste seeking damages.

On the third issue, the commission approved a resolution to begin using the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Colquitt County Emergency Management Agency Director Russell Moody said the county has been using the guidelines in NIMS for several years, but approving the resolution opens the county up for federal grants.

Mike Morgan, however, came before the commission and said NIMS dissolves local government’s rights and will allow the state federal governments to dictate what a local government does. He said the promise of federal grants with the approval is like a bribe going backwards and it gives away personal freedoms.

Morgan asked the commission to reconsider their vote of the NIMS resolution and the review it more closely. He said the Founding Fathers divided the government into three separate branches because they did not trust government, and the NIMS resolution removes those checks and balances.

Other issues brought before the commission were:

• Approval and ratifying of a list of unpaid invoices;

• Approval of tax reliefs and additions;

• Approval of bids for worker’s compensation, employee health benefits, resurfacing 5.74 miles of Cool Springs Road and equipment upgrades at the Colquitt County 911 Center, and;

• Appointment of Larry Sims with two other nominees to be named later submitted to the South Georgia Hospital Authority.

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