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County holds meeting, court in new center
5 1st Meeting pic1
Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix casts her vote electronically during the boards first meeting at the new Dawson County Government Center last week. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Commissioners held their first meeting in the Dawson County Government Center on Feb. 2.

The meeting room's new electronic system allows commissioners to cast votes electronically on agenda items. The votes are then displayed on several flat screen monitors inside the board's assembly room on the second floor.

Bob Ivey, director of special projects for the county, said he was pleased with how well the first meeting went.

"It went very well," he said.

He added that the commissioners had practiced prior to the first meeting on how to use the new equipment.

The court system also had practice days to learn to use the new system. Judges held court for the first time in the new building on Tuesday.

Those entering the government center are subject to search by deputies and must pass through a screening station. Due to the tragic events that occurred at the Fulton County Courthouse in 2005, Georgia Law now requires sheriffs to have a written security plan to ensure safety in county courthouses.

In accordance with Sheriff Billy Carlisle's approved security plan, certain items, such as guns, knives, glass or anything that could be used as a weapon are prohibited in the center.

In the event a prohibited item is brought to the center, the screening officer will either take possession of the item while the owner conducts their business, or allow them to return the item to their vehicles.

The new center replaces the courthouse that was built in the 1970s and will be demolished this spring.

"We're going to be taking the clock out on the 13th, and then we'll begin the asbestos abatement," Ivey said.

The demolition will follow, and a secure parking lot will be built in its place.

"All of this will be done by approximately April 15," Ivey said.