Acquiring right of way and easements needed to upgrade the intersection of the Altama Connector and the Ga. 25 Spur may cost more than expected, according to Glynn County staff members.

Glynn County’s finance committee recommended the Glynn County Commission pay engineering firm Pond & Company, which is doing the engineering and design work on the project, $89,850 to negotiate right of way and easement acquisition.

“We were unaware of how much property would have to be acquired, how much easement would have to be acquired by the county at the initial point of the project,” said Ben Pierce, roads and drainage division manager. “So now that we have a good idea of how many properties, how much right of way, how much easement is going to have to be purchased and acquired, we want to engage (Pond’s) acquisition services … This is for their services to go and negotiate with them. This isn’t how much those properties are going to cost us.”

He said the county’s public works department recommended paying Pond & Company to conduct negotiations rather than handling it in-house due to the entities they would be dealing with.

“We’re dealing with corporations. We’re not dealing with an HOA or someone local, we’re dealing with corporations,” Pierce said.

Before all is said and done, the county will probably have to buy property along the Altama Connector from Golden Corral, Home Depot, SunTrust, Applebees, Long John Silver and “everything on the north side” of the connector.

“That’s where all the improvements are going to go, to that one side,” Pierce said.

He said the county administration has reached out to other companies looking for a better price and found no takers.

While committee member David O’Quinn felt the county had little choice, others didn’t like it.

“I don’t have a problem. I don’t think we have any other options at this point,” O’Quinn said.

“Why don’t you go ahead and make the motion, it’s giving me heartburn,” responded committee member Bill Brunson.

Brunson said he’d negotiated for right of way on behalf of the county shortly after being elected to serve on the county commission and didn’t want to pay Pond & Company.

Despite the resistance, the committee voted 3-0 to approve the change order.

In other business, the committee recommended the county commission pay $154,990 to update its old call handling system.

“The main reason why that replacement is taking place at this time is because we had a contract with AT&T, and they’re dropping that system. They’re no longer providing that product,” said county IT Manager John Catron.

He added that the current system has been out of date for years and that this seemed like a good opportunity to upgrade.

“What we’ve done is, we looked at a number of systems, and we settled on Motorola Callworks,” Catron said.

It’s a good choice from functionality and price standpoints, Catron said, and comes with many modern features.

It’s especially useful for the county’s public safety agencies, said 911 Director Steve Usher, as the system can pinpoint a cellphone’s location “accurate to the size of a dime.”

The committee also voted to recommend the county commission:

• Contract Bull City Financial Solutions to handle ambulance fee debt collection.

• Renew the county’s workers’ compensation insurance with the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.

• Accept a $10,000 donation from the estate of Ms. Lee Scheinman for Glynn County Animal Control.

• Accept a $300 grant from the Bissell Pet Foundation for Glynn County Animal Control.

• Accept a $6,000 grant for Glynn County Superior Court’s drug court program.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17.

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