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Calhoun moving forward on new recreation complex

Calhoun County

Calhoun County Council is moving forward with plans to construct a recreation complex for the county and is seeking the input of everyone from the school board to town councils on its development.

The council had a brief recreation committee report during its Monday night meeting, with the committee already having met to discuss the project, including with proposed project drawings.

The council's recreation committee is made up of Council Vice Chairman James Haigler, Councilman Ken Westbury, County Administrator John McLauchlin Jr. and County Community Development Director Tyrone Dantzler.

"We are meeting with Calhoun County Public Schools Board of Trustees on next Monday night (Sept. 20) to get a memorandum of understanding between us and them on what kind of interface it'll be between us and them on getting their input," Councilman Ken Westbury said.

"It's going to have to be a 'together' project for the project to work," Haigler said, noting there are also plans to meet with, for example, members of St. Matthews Town Council.

McLauchlin said following the meeting that a recreation bond would be used to pay for the sports complex.

"The sports complex will be paid for out of a rec bond that we're about to close on. It's a $2 million bond, and it's at .99 (percent) interest," the administrator said, noting the county is looking to officially close on the bond on Nov. 12.

In other business, the council discussed Project Cloverleaf and the county's commitment on wastewater services for the project.

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McLauchlin said, "That's a residential project that is still confidential, but they wanted us to commit to the wastewater allocation to them." The commitment has been made with more information anticipated by next month's meeting.

County Sheriff Thomas Summers also appeared before council requesting a budget transfer to compensate deputies who worked during the pandemic.

McLauchlin said, "The sheriff himself came last night requesting a budget transfer for his deputies working during COVID of $110,400. We'll take it under advisement. We told him we would have him an answer on Oct. 27, which'll be the next council meeting."

Also during the meeting, the administrator introduced Cody Hair as the county's new public works director.

"He's actually been here for years. We just reassigned his duties to be public works director. He was in roads and bridges, and we promoted him to the director of public works," McLauchlin said.

In other matters, the council gave second-reading approval to authorizing the Calhoun County Historical Commission to enter into contracts of sale for properties included in the Dick Banks Estate in St. Matthews.

"The county is selling some property that was donated to the county, and it's called the Dick Banks Estate. This ordinance allows us to get into contract for that," McLauchlin said.

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The administrator has said the property consists of 32 parcels that vary in size from one to two acres, and the property was appraised at $5,000 to $7,000 per acre.

Also during the meeting, council heard from county resident George Gates regarding the county's mobile home ordinance and his issues with Three Bridges Road.

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"He's trying to get a variance to be able to move a mobile home, and we're revising our ordinance at the same time. So he had some questions about his mobile home, and he had some road issues," McLauchlin said.

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Second reading to amend the county's mobile home ordinance has been put on hold "until we can get some more information," the administrator said, noting that second reading of the county's noise and nuisance ordinance has also been put on hold as the county gathers more information on it as well.

In other business:

  • Council approved accepting Speedway Court, a dirt road, into the county's maintenance system.
  • Council went into executive session, during which McLauchlin said they discussed his work to fill two vacant administrative positions, one for finance director and another for deputy administrator.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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