Commissioner Parrish Swift expressed concern about the possibility that any attempt to include a new judicial complex would meet with great voter disapproval, much as it did in a failed SPLOST referendum in November 2009.
“My opinion is we just need to go with one project and that would be the courthouse — to renovate the courthouse,” he said, adding that he could not see himself supporting any other recommendation.
Commissioner Don Collins said he did not believe the board should be voting on the issue — that it would be inappropriate and premature to make SPLOST decisions — without discussions with the appointed SPLOST steering committee.
“I don’t believe I could vote on anything until I have costs before me related to the project and a viable estimate of projected SPLOST income,” Collins added.
After further discussion that included what administrative costs — such as rental expenses for courthouse employees — may be covered by SPLOST funds, a 4-0 vote approved Swift’s motion to only seek funds for a full courthouse renovation.
In other business, the issue of county employees’ health insurance was discussed, with several commissioners voicing concerns regarding the current coverage.
Commissioner Roosevelt Willis was the first to address the issue as he presented his report. He said he is dissatisfied with the coverage now offered and attributed problems with obtaining proper health care to Blue Cross Blue Shield.
According to Willis, one prescription medication he has taken for more than two decades is no longer covered, resulting in his doctor prescribing another drug.
Swift and Chairman Doug Mangham concurred with Willis, with both stating they have received complaints from county employees regarding the insurance plan now in place.
“I just think we really need to do better for our employees,” Swift said.
Collins, in his report, requested the agenda be amended to discuss a request from the Agribusiness Authority for a letter of endorsement of a grant that, if received, would be utilized to expand the Farmer’s Market scheduled operation to Wednesdays.
The letter of endorsement was subsequently approved in a 4-0 vote.