Glynn County is on its way to staffing the Glynn County Fire Department with 15 new firefighters, paid for in large part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A grant from the federal agency would cover roughly two thirds of $2 million needed to pay the firefighters for three years, after which county would reassess the situation.
Glynn County finance committee members recommended the Glynn County Commission approve the matching funds in pursuit what they see as one of the county’s major goals: to improve public safety. It was also one of the reasons the commission increased the millage rate this year.
On the other hand, paying the other one third — around $800,000 over three years — necessitates spending money from the fire department’s fund balance. Another of the major aims of the millage increase was to curtail fund balance spending.
Committee member Mark Stambaugh voted against recommending acceptance of the grant because he said the should try to stop spending from fund balances. Committee members Richard Strickland and Peter Murphy, both county commissioners along with Stambaugh, voted in favor because they believed the increased safety 15 additional firefighters will provide is a good tradeoff.
The new personnel will allow the fire department to assign one more person to each fire engine and truck company.
Monica Hardin, county grant writer, said Glynn County’s fire department is actually understaffed for its size, and while the new hires will bring it closer, it will still be understaffed once the new personnel are brought on board.
Fire Chief R.K. Jordan said he wouldn’t have much trouble filling the positions, and in fact had a number of people waiting for the grant to take effect.
In other business, the finance committee recommended approval of $270,000 in spending on the Altama Connector corridor project.
Strickland said the intersection of the connector and Ga. Spur 25 is one of the worst intersections in the county. He added he believes the $3.5 million set aside in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 revenue may not be enough to fix all the issues the intersection has.
The $270,000 will be used to hire Pond Company, of Peachtree City, to evaluate the corridor and offer solutions, said Ben Pierce, Glynn County Public Works roads and drainage division manager.
Pierce described the corridor as extending from the Altama Connector’s intersection with old Cyprus Mill Road to the intersection with the Scranton Connector.
Some solutions may include changing the traffic light or lane configurations at the connector’s intersection with the spur, and will likely include altering the way cars turn left off the Altama Connector onto Merchants Way.
The committee also recommended approval of a request to abate $494.24 in penalties owed by Chris Patel because his property tax bill was paid on time, but to the wrong department. Committee members recommended accepting two vehicles from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and a request to purchase supplies to outfit the Public Safety Department Detective Division’s modular office space, among other things.
Items approved at finance committee meetings are generally added to the Glynn County Commission’s consent agenda. The county commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Old Glynn County Courthouse, 701 G St. in Brunswick.