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Putnam County Commission Rejects Fiberoptic Bid

Pictured with the First Responder Day Proclamation are (l-r): Fire Administrator Rich Pullin, Commissioner Brian Ellis, Commissioner Andy Skidmore, Commissioner Ron Foster, Sheriff Bobbie Eggleton, and OES/911 Director Mikyle White.

The agenda for the August 30th Putnam County Commission meeting listed a bid opening that did not happen. Jessie Parker informed the commission that S & S Engineers had received one bid for the county’s Fiberoptic Project. (S & S Engineers was selected to oversee the project.) The commission rejected the bid without opening it after Parker said that the bidder had notified him that the bid did not cover an amendment to bid requirements. Parker stated that another company told him that they had prepared a bid but the bid was not submitted because Fed Ex failed to show up. The commission directed S & S Engineers to advertise the rebidding of the project.

The commission issued a proclamation designating September 10, 2022 as First Responders Day in Putnam County. E-911 Advisory Board member Rich Pullin said that an event showing appreciation for all law enforcement, EMS, Fire Departments and dispatchers in the county will be held at the FMS Sportsmens Club from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 10. Pullin stated that the cost of the event is being footed by private sponsors and the City of Hurricane.

The commission heard financial updates from the Development Authority, Health Department, Libraries, and Convention & Business Bureau.

Morganne Tenney, Executive Director of the Putnam County Development Authority (PCDA), stated that PCDA has been restructured and is in position to receive more community support and funding. Tenney reported that the Development Authority has reduced overhead costs. The Authority sold donated equipment through Protec, a non-profit 501C organization which provides a path for businesses to make tax deductible donations. Tenney said that Protec has collected more donations in the last 60 days than the combined total of the last five years.

Tenney announced that funds from the settlement of the gas line access through the Fraziers Bottom Business Park will be used to finance utility upgrades along U.S. 35. She reported that interest from businesses in locating in Putnam County along U.S. 35 is being spurred by Nucor’s decision to locate a steel mill in Mason County. Tenney said that Nucor talent wants to live in Putnam County.
Tenney also announced that Protec will be holding a dinner fundraiser on September 22nd.

Health Department Director Dr. Crystal Moberly informed the commissioners that the department is in-budget and has a positive cash balance. Moberly said the Health Department is moving into a post-Covid mode that is seeing an uptick in services. Moberly expects an increase of $28,000 in revenue during the current fiscal year generated by a fee increase. Moberly said that the new fee schedule aligns Putnam with State-approved maximums.

Megan Tarbett, Putnam County Library Director, announced that Libraries has received approval for a federal grant which will allow the Library to provide a digital services program offering. Tarbett also announced that county libraries are now fine free. There will be no late fees. Charges for lost or damaged books will remain in effect. Tarbett said that fine-free policies have resulted in increased library usage nationally.

Convention and Business Director Kelli Steele reported that hotel occupancy in Putnam has rebounded and is now 3% above pre-pandemic level.

In other business, the commission approved a text amendment to county ordinances which clarifies the difference between change of land use and change of business use. The commission also approved text changes to ordinances governing court-ordered land divisions. The text amendments spell out the intent of the ordinances involved.

Also in other business, the commission filled vacancies on the Putnam County Development Authority Board. Zack Crede, Jack McLane, Allen Noffsinger, Joletta Raynes, and Doug Tate were appointed to the Board.

The next county commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13.

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