County engineer James Emery, who still has five vacancies in the road department, said he needs the foreman because paving season is about to start and he has a lot of resurfacing to accomplish in the unincorporated area, as well as the three cities.
“One particular need is shoulder work all over the county,” he said. “I want to get a crew dedicated to shoulder maintenance.”
The foreman will earn $13.07 per hour.
In other matters Tuesday, the commission voted to establish 18 acres as the minimum parcel size to qualify for an agricultural conservation tax break, which amounts to 10 percent to 15 percent of fair market value. Previously, 5 acres was the minimum.
The action will eliminate 143 parcels totaling 1,668 acres from the conservation program, generating $31,000 in revenue for the county and $55,000 for the school system over the next several years.
More than 996 parcels in the conservation program are more than 18 acres. The owners receive a property tax discount of $2.3 million for county and school purposes.
Commissioner Buck Davis opposed the change, saying it will “create a hardship on the smaller people who are using it for farm land.”
But Commissioner Ken Smith, who proposed 18 acres, pointed out last week that “any time you have an exemption, you’re transferring the property tax to someone else.”
A bill approved by the legislature last year allows county commissions to establish a minimum up to 25 acres.
“It’s to give boards of assessors a handle on what the minimum needs to be,” said County Manager Mike Dobbs.
Also Tuesday, the board awarded a contract of $245,520 to Howard B. Jones & Sons Inc. in Lexington, S.C., for four clay tennis courts at Granger Park. The project is privately financed by the Chattahoochee Area Tennis Association, which has raised $287,500.
Joel Martin can be reached at jmartin@lagrangenews. com or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 235.