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UPDATE: Wilcox Commission terminates Wilcox elections supervisor

By Lucas C. Allison

Dispatch Correspondent

 

The Wilcox County Board of Commissioners ousted Election Supervisor April Grahm Tuesday.

Commissioner Jowan Johnson made a motion to terminate Grahm, which was seconded by Commissioner Clay Reid.

Johnson, Hall, Powell and Reid all voted in the affirmative, although no specific reason was given for the termination.

The commissioners heard concerns from Jerry Sercer regarding an unknown substance at the county landfill where it connects to his property and what actions were being taken by the commissioners to determine the source and corrective actions being taken.

Sercer said he has concerns as to whether his water supply is affected and health of himself and family and his livestock. The commissioners presented Sercer with a chronological timeline of actions taken since it was first notified of the substance

The timeline showed that on

  • April 28 2021, Reid and Road Superintendent Adam Dowdy met with Sercer at the site and a hole was dug with an excavator and a problem was detected.
  • On May 3 2021, Jon Spaller with Geotechnical & Environmental and met with Commissioners Keene and Reid and County Manager Paula Ball,
  • On May 4, Spaller notified the Environmental Protection Division .Wen Howell from EPD came to inspect the site, and provided commissioners with a list of EPD approved guidelines that could facilitate the testing and cleanup
  • On May 6, Dowdy contacted Corey Rahn with Rahn’s Services in Rincon, GA.
  • On May 10, Rahn visited the site, pumped out the hole and built a berm to contain any liquid run off. On May 11, Howell returned and said the county was following
  • On May 12, Rahn, returned with biologist Patrick Cagen from Advanced Environmental Management he took samples of the seepage product from the landfill and also took samples from the water pipe that leads into Sercer’s property.
  • May 18, Wilcox Extension Agen John Bennett took water samples from the recreation well.
  • May 20 billed $11,616.64 by Rahn’s Services and received letter from Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) giving detailed report of actions taken. May 28, Mr. Rahn emailed Ball report on test samples taken which was forward to Mr. Spaller and Wen Howell at EPD. Bef commission meeting Mr. Sercer met with Mr. Rahn, and Mrs. Ball.

Wilcox Fire/EMA director Larry Brown reported a Fire Behavior Class was held last month with 22 attending. He also said 10 firefighters at the Pitts Fire Department had been tested for Fire Suppression certification by the state, awaiting results. He said the GEMA plans had been approved as well as the Hazard Mitigation Plan had been approved and is valid for next five years but must be signed by the individual city officials in the county. Wilcox EMS director Charles Futch reported they had 24 persons take Emergency Response training (EMR)and passed also five persons had taken and passed testing for emergency medical technician, he said he is fully staffed .

Middle Georgia EMC broadband project manager Don Woods addressed the commission give brief history of function and history of EMC in Wilcox followed by Middle GA EMS manager giving update on cost timeline and process for installation of the broadband project. He said they hope to connect the first customers in Jan. 2022, with a two-year completion date for the project, he said Wilcox was allocated three.5 million from federal infrastructure funding for the high-speed broadband project. He said they will cover the entire county with the project working with Georgia Power and using their lines in the cities. He said the price point would be $49.99 for 100 megabytes upload/download speed and $79.99 for 1 gigabyte. He said the project is a forty-million-dollar investment by EMC. Commissioners approved the reappointment of Mrs. Vickie Kemp and Ruby Dantley to the Heart of Georgia Aging Advisory Committee  .Approved funding the Public Defender’s 2021-2022 budget for $29,143, which is no increase from current budget. Approved budget amendments for 2021 budgets of EMS and Sheriff’s departments to account for USDA funding received for new ambulance and for insurance proceeds for Tahoe patrol vehicle that was totaled in motor vehicle crash. The board then entered Executive Session to discuss personnel matters with the Wilcox Board of Elections.

Chairperson Keene then brought up that county vehicles are still operating without required markings by law, he said the issue was voted on in April and here it is June.  Fire/EMA director Mr. Larry Brown said they were waiting on decals from printer.  Mr. Keene, said he was giving  15 days for the vehicles to come into compliance. The Wilcox Commission meets the first Tuesday of each month at the courthouse in Abbeville at 6:30 p.m.