By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

Morgan County Manager Michael Lamar presented the results of the Board of Commissioners’ (BOC) 2013 Strategic Planning goals to enact throughout 2014 at their monthly meeting on July 15. Lamar identified the seven highest priorities of the BOC determined in 2013 along with the overall goals to “find new money” and “save money.” The list included the development of the Farmers Market, investment in public safety, employee compensation and personnel evaluations, fine tuning the budget development process, increase assistance to the Morgan Memorial Hospital, securing a water source for the county, and utilizing new equipment for roads and bridges. “Everything we set out to do in a year’s time, we have achieved in some measure,” said Lamar. Lamar was pleased with the progress made on the coming Farmers Market to be completed in 2015, which is a partnership between the county and Kelly Products. The county is funding the construction of the Farmers Market, which will include a specialty grocery and café, and Kelly Products will operate the facility. Lamar also noted the county’s dedication to improving public safety.

“Over the past year, a new 911 radio system was purchased and installed; two new law enforcement positions were funded …a new fire station was constructed; four new sheriffs’ patrol vehicles were approved; a new fire engine was purchased; two new full-time firefighter positions were funded, high speed data infrastructure was installed, and a community storm shelter was built,” said Lamar. Lamar also noted that the county instituted 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) across-the-board raises for county employees and staff evaluations for all employees were completed by himself, all department heads, and the BOC.

Lamar revealed that $150,000 of additional funds were approved for the procurement of another physician at the hospital. Lamar also noted that new paving equipment was used on a number of paving and repaving projects including but not limited to: Morgan Estates, Grayson Point, Baldwin Dairy, Railroad Street, and Parks Mill Road. “Also, the solid waste equipment (excavator and skid steer) purchased in the third quarter of FY2013 continues to pay dividends with approximately $65,000 in savings in tipping fees (versus FY2013),” said Lamar. “We appreciate everything you do,” said Andy Ainslie, chairman of the BOC. “We are always making progress is making a better Morgan County for everybody.”