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Blevins Construction To Oversee Courthouse Project

News Editor

The Dade County Commissioners Approved Blevins Construction Management Inc. (BCM), as construction management for the historical courthouse renovation during the Thursday, Oct. 7 meeting.

“Jamey Blevins met with us and they are looking at a five percent construction fee overall. Upfront, they are asking for $10,000 and that fee will be waived as the project proceeds onto construction phase,” Don Townsend, County Finance Officer, explained to the commissioners. “They will oversee the project and they will meet with you to make management reports.”

Townsend noted that the five percent is a low fee, because Jamey Blevins is a citizen of Dade County.

Donna Street, with the Historical Society, explained further, “The $10,000 is basically the superstructure to get us started. We will get from the $10,000, the phases, the approximate cost, and then they will begin the process of helping us start a phase. When we get to phase one, we will come back to [the commissioners], and [Jamey Blevins] will say ‘We’ll put this bid out for this piece.’”

We’re thrilled with the idea of getting started again,” Street said.

Street says that the goal is for the courthouse to be a useful building that is economical for both for energy and fuel.

“It is the keystone to our community. We want it to be there in another 100 years. It’s a tough little building,” Street said.

Audrey Clark, with the Historical Society, said, “We’re at a point where we need to move forward … we need capable people that can oversee this.”

Commissioner Melissa C. Bradford said that she would like to see numbers, data, and a week–by–week plan by Blevins Construction Management, to which the other commissioners agreed.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners discussed the possibility of drafting a resolution to show that they are against President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses of over 100 employees. Currently Dade County has about 160 employees.

“I’m not against the vaccine,” Commissioner Lamar Lowery said, “I’m going tomorrow to get my booster shot. I’m against the government mandating it.”

County Executive Ted Rumley noted that most of the employees have been vaccinated, but he agreed that the government shouldn’t make anyone do anything like that.

“We can do that to show our support, but the repercussions from the federal government is what we have to look at, too,” Rumley said.

The commissioners agreed to have a discussion with County Attorney Robin Rogers about the matter.

The commissioners approved proclamations, including Oct. 3-9 as Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 23-21 as Red Ribbon Week, to encourage children to say no to drugs, and the whole month of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The commissioners also approved the reappointment of Richard Stephens to the Board of Assessors.

The commissioners approved a $9,061 lighting upgrade for the New Home Fire Department trucks, to be paid for by SPLOST funds. The commissioners also approved a F-150 truck for the coroner, for $40,075.41. Assistant Fire Chief Ansel Smith asked the commissioners to add $5,000 to the cost, because a new air conditioner is needed as well, but Smith hopes it will cost less than that. The Commissioners agreed to add the extra cost.

Commissioners approved the low bid by Talley Construction Inc., of Rossville, for the leveling and paving of Hales Gap Road and Burkhalter Gap Road, for a total of $708,737.50. The work will begin later this month.

The commissioners also established a sick policy for employees affected by COVID-19.

During the citizens’ participation portion of the meeting, Stephen Bontekoe, Dade County Soil Conservationist, informed citizens that the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service has announced the deadline for the annual farm bill programs as Nov. 5. If anyone is interested in applying for the bill, they can contact Bontekoe at (423) 421-2543.

Commissioner Lowery reported that there were 213 EMS calls for the month of September, 173 fire department and rescue calls, and 1,938 police calls, for a total of 2,324 calls. He noted that the calls were down compared to other months.

Commissioner Phillip Hartline reported that fall soccer and recreation football are ongoing at the Dade County Sports Complex. The tennis courts have been resurfaced, and ground has been broken on the storm shelter. Workers have almost finished the expansion on the No. 4 ball field.

Commissioner Robert Goff reported that there was $254,064 for this month in SPLOST funds. Goff noted that he was appointed to the Coosa-North Georgia Rural Water Council, and he is also on the Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee, with NACo, the National Association of Counties.

Commissioner Bradford reported that the transfer station had 496 tons for the month, which is a much lower number than usual.

UGA Extension Agent Sarah Dyer reported that the State of Dade Lamb and Goat Classic was held last month. There were exhibitors from six states, and thousands in cash rewards was disbursed. Ella Hughes won fifth overall Georgia born and bred market wether and fourth overall Georgia born and bred market doe. Callie Hughes won fourth overall Georgia born and bred market wether, fifth overall Georgia born and bred market doe, and champion junior in the fitting contest.

The 4-H Livestock Show Team will travel to the State Market Goat Show in Perry this month.

The next D.A.D.E Grass Class is Thursday, Oct. 14. The topic is using hay test results to develop a winter feeding plan. The next Tri-State Cattlemen’s Association meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Dade County UGA Extension and 4-H Ag Center. The next Tri-State Beekeepers Association meeting will be Monday, Oct. 18, also at the UGA Extension and 4-H Ag Center.

Donna Street spoke about upcoming events and on-going news at the Dade County Historical Society.

On Oct. 24, a historian with Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will lead a driving tour of sites where Union soldiers were in Dade County in 1863. The tour will start on the square at 2:30 p.m. The tour has 25 spots available, so contact Joy Odom at (706) 398-1051 or to get registered.

The Historical Society is also starting to work on the annual Wreaths Across America program, to get wreaths on graves at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. The first wreath is $15, and additional wreaths after that are $10.

George Williams, Chair of the Alliance for Dade, reported that there are now 79 investors. Over 35 Dade County residents visited the Welcome Center in the month of September, which is the largest amount in any month.

“We have been talking about getting our own citizens to use the Welcome Center. We are encouraged by this,” Williams said.

Williams noted that the Job Ready Dade hiring event was a success, and the Alliance hopes to hold another one next spring.

Townsend gave the financial report. As of Sept. 30, the general fund had a balance of $800,815. Income for the month of August was $484,532.31, and $405,878.27 was budgeted. Expenses for the month of August were $879,580.36, and $970.930.91 was budgeted.

The next Dade County Commissioners meeting will be Nov. 4.

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