By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted to approve a contract with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the FTA’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 5311 Operating Program The county will receive federal funds in the amount of approximately $121,500, which will facilitate the operation of public transportation in conjunction with a 50 percent match from the county. County Manager Michael Lamar said that this is an annual contract and that the amount that the county receives fluctuates from year to year. According to Lamar, this year marks a $30,000 “increase in funding,” as the amount allocated in the operating budget for the project increased from approximately $40,000 last year to nearly $72,000 for FY 2015. Lamar stated that the federal funds are useful to “help offset some of the costs” that the county would otherwise have to shoulder alone and that public transportation is a “well-used and popular program.”

The BOC also agreed to a five-year contract with the Braswell Foundation to lease 7.21 acres on Alonzo Farmer Road for $1 per year. The property was the location of the home of Benjamin Braswell, a Morgan County citizen who willed his personal fortune for the purpose of creating of an education fund at his death in 1817. Lamar stated that the county intends to open the property for public viewing and possibly create a trail system, once the property is rehabilitated. He said that the property is “in need of a clean-up” and that he feels that this will be a “positive usage” of the parcel. Commissioner Phillip Clack spoke on behalf of the plan, noting that the property “hasn’t been maintained in years” and that it would be good to keep a historic site “under Morgan County control.” The initial lease, which expires on December 31, 2019, is renewable for additional five-year terms, based on both parties’ consent.

The BOC also approved: an application for a conditional use permit for Verizon Wireless to construct a 199-foot telecommunications tower on Sewell Road. text amendments to Articles 3, 4, and 7 of the Morgan County zoning ordinances related to personal care facilities. a memorandum of understanding between the county and the Georgia Department of Transportation for roadway/railroad intersection improvements on Double Bridges Road. a motion to approve the June 2014 financials and payables to include general fund in the amount of $2,092,348.02 and SPLOST in the amount of $170,182.40.