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BOC to accept grant for senior center, potentially pass budget
I-BOC meeting pic.jpg
Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett presented the board of commissioners with a check for $750,000 from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Pictured from left are Commissioner Sharon Fausett, Pruett and commissioners Julie Hughes Nix, Billy Thurmond, Jimmy Hamby and Chris Gaines. - photo by Allie Dean

Dawson County Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett showed up to the board of commissioners work session on Thursday with a giant check in her hands.

Pruett received notice in August that the county was awarded a $750,000 Georgia Community Development Block Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to build a new senior center at Veterans Memorial Park.
The center will be in addition to the current Margie Weaver Senior Center and Pruett expects to break ground in 2019.

She presented the check to the board on Oct. 25, with formal acceptance of the grant expected at the Nov. 1 voting session. The county has 30 days to accept the grant and will receive the funds after the board votes to accept.

Also during the voting session Nov. 1, the board will consider the 2019 proposed budget, which the board tabled Oct. 18, as well as a proposal from the Dawson County Library board to retrofit the lights at the building and in the parking lot with LED lighting.

In an effort to save on electricity costs, Library Director Leslie Clark and Operations Specialist Michael Middleton had the library site inspected by Energy Harness Corp, who presented a proposal to retrofit all of the lights at the library. Middleton sent the proposal to the Georgia Public Library Service, who suggested that there would be state funds available for the project should the county provide matching funds.

According to the Energy Harness Corp proposal, the project cost would be $24,826.75 with a county match of around $12,400. Due to energy savings, the new LED lights would pay for themselves in 23 months.

Clark said the library board would also be pursuing other quotes. Because the cost would be less than $25,000, the county would not need to go through the typical sealed, open public bid process.

“Our utility bills are rather high, any money we don’t have to spend on that we can spend on something else,” Clark said.

Facilities Director James Tolbert said he was in favor of the proposal

“We want to go further with it after this, see how it works out, because we do have other locations like the fire department that has a lot of metal halo we’d like to get changed in LED so this would be the first of many,” Tolbert said.

The money could come out of the capital projects fund.

The board also heard a request from Public Defender Brad Morris to reallocate $10,200 that the board previously approved to be used to supplement Public Defender David Turk’s Hall County salary.

Turk died in September and Rob McNeil, the senior Assistant Public Defender in Dawson County, suddenly retired that same month. Morris has requested the supplemental funds be reallocated to the two attorneys who have been brought in to take over.

The board will also be voting to award contracts for inmate food services and an external auditing firm.

Voting sessions of the board of commissioners are held at 6 p.m. in the second floor assembly room at the Dawson County Government Center.