The contents of the cardboard box turned out to be a bag of water, but officials don’t know how or why it was left in City Council’s chamber.
City Manager Bill Stankiewicz said a Troup County corrections inmate assigned to Hogansville was cleaning the room about noon Wednesday and found the box in the far right corner of the room, behind the last row of spectator seats.
The inmate notified the city clerk, who opened the box and found a T-shirt wrapped around a black plastic garbage bag.
The bag jiggled.
“In an abundance of caution, the clerk called Hogansville police, who, in an abundance of caution, called the (Georgia Bureau of Investigation),” Stankiewicz said.
The inmate, clerk and three other employees were evacuated during the GBI investigation.
“Since (the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001), you have to take all these situations seriously,” said Police Chief Moses Ector.
The water, which was tested later by the city’s water department. It’s from a nopotable” source, which means it likely came from a creek or stream.
Stankiewicz said he’d rather have the city be embarrassed when the substance turned out to be nothing, like in this case, rather than deal with a tragedy.
Stankiewicz and Ector were glad the substance wasn’t hazardous, but still have questions about the package. The box itself came from City Hall and was addressed to an employee from a vendor the city uses. That means it could have been picked up after it was discarded outside and used to hold the bag.
The white T-shirt with Department of Corrections stamped on it is the standard uniform of inmates from the county prison who are assigned to City Hall.
Stankiewicz and police reviewed security tapes at City Hall to see if anyone brought in a box to Tuesday night’s council meeting. No one did.
“We think (the box) was there for a while,” he said. With no potential suspects “we’re just going to drop it.”
Jennifer Shrader may be reached at email@example.com or at (706) 884-7311, Ext. 236.