BOC reconsiders paying for shared forestry employee
By Stephanie Johns
The Morgan County Commission learned of an unexpected cost increase during their work session last week: County Manager Michael Lamar told them that they had received a bill for $22,000 from Walton County for the county’s share in a forestry employee’s salary.
He said that Morgan and Walton counties had no contract but that for the past 38 years they had split the cost of a salary for that shared employee.
The problem: in years past Morgan County’s bill stood at a little more than $17,000 and there was no explanation as to the increase included with the new bill.
Lamar said county staff learned that the increase came about because family coverage for Walton County employees had increased.
“That’s not a benefit received by county employees,” he said. “I recommend you pay what you’ve always paid.”
Chairwoman Ellen Warren said they have an obligation to finish out this fiscal year but that they should look into this further when budgeting for the next fiscal year.
Commissioner Andy Ainslie noted that forestry “does a lot for this county.”
Lamar agreed and said it would be nice to know what this employee does for Morgan County.
As to recycling in Morgan County, Warren said the county needs to do more.
“We all are going to have to do better,” she said.
Commissioner Ronald Milton agreed.
“We do a poor job of recycling,” he said.
Gregg Pennington, supervisor of Roads & Bridges as well as Sanitation, shared his recommendation for equipment that would allow them to increase the amount of recycled materials removed from the waste stream.
Equipment includes an excavator, a skid steer, and a compactor.
In a letter Pennington wrote to Commissioners he noted that the excavator and the skid steer, both with specialized buckets, would be used to remove recyclable material from the waste stream.
The excavator also will be used to load trucks that haul refuse to Oak Grove in Winder, he wrote.
As to the compactor, that could save the county money when it comes to making trips to Athens. Currently they haul each recycle box individually. The compactor would allow them to haul six recycle boxes per trip, which he noted would save on labor, fuel, and wear-and-tear on the county’s roll-off trucks.
His final recommendation: to use Flint Equipment Co. for the first two pieces of equipment and Rudco for the last one.
If purchased, the excavator would cost almost $143,000, the skid steer about $42,000, and the compactor almost $15,500.
Printed in the January 24, 2013 edition.