County buys Tahoes, okays sale of property

As part of a continuing vehicle replace program, members of the Lincoln County Commission gave their approval Tuesday to the purchase of five fully equipped police pursuit units, Chevrolet Tahoes, at a cost of $255,000.

The vehicles were requested by Sheriff Murray Blackwelder as part of an ongoing program begun in FY 2016, said Finance Director Cole Bradford. The purchase was approved in unanimous vote, with 20 commissioners present and four absent.

Also approved was the sales contract on two Lincoln Health System properties, the old care center building on Amana Avenue and the former home of the ambulance service, for a total of $6,000. The vote was 17 in favor and three opposed. The sale was held on April 3, said County Attorney Ed Simms, noting that Jacob Moon was the only bidder. No minimum bid had been set.

The properties, both located near the old Lincoln Regional Hospital building, had been declared as surplus by the county in May of last year, primarily due to upkeep and related expenses. The state’s attorney general had also approved the sale of the properties.

Tuesday evening’s meeting was held electronically under Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 16, issued in late March and authorizing all governing bodies to meet electronically in light of circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. County Mayor Bill Newman recognized IT Director Matt McAulliffee for his guidance and work in facilitating the electronic meetings.

Four public hearings were held electronically just prior to the commission meeting. Nancy Harris, director of planning and zoning for the county, said there were no comments or concerns voiced in the hearings.

ü Approved in a 15 to 5 vote was the county’s property maintenance regulations, which had originally been approved in August of last year. However, amid questions as to the validity of that action, officials opted to return the matter to the floor for another vote.

ü Also approved was an amendment relating to accessory structures. It stipulates that additional structures greater than 15 feet in height must be an additional five feet from side and rear property lines. That amendment was approved in a 17 to 3 vote.

ü An amendment to the county’s R-3 heavy-density residential districts, to allow for additional permitted uses and emphasizing certain requirements, was approved as well, with 20 commissioners voting in its favor. Uses include detached single-family dwellings and manufactured homes as part of cluster developments, townhouses, and the like.

ü The rezoning of 52.48 acres at the southwest corner of West Lincoln Road and Highway 231-431 from A-1 (Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Residential) and C-1 (General Commercial) to R-3 (Heavy Density Residential) was approved. The property is expected to be developed into a major subdivision.

ü A resolution requesting the designation of Lincoln County as a Broadband Ready Community was passed – “This will hopefully speed up the process for broadband within our community,” said Newman.

ü Ed Simms was re-elected to serve as the county attorney in a unanimous vote of the commissioners present.

ü Officials approved changing the name of Cessna Road in Runway Centre to Koi Park Road.

ü The purchase of a truck for Lincoln County Volunteer Fire and Rescue was approved. The vehicle replaces one that had been wrecked, and the county had recovered funding through insurance.

ü The County Commission’s May meeting, which had been rescheduled due to a post-legislative conference being held, will be held May 19 as originally scheduled. The conference was cancelled.

ü A $100 funding request for the McBurg Community Center was approved, as was an amendment to the ERIS-GIS contract between E911 and the Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities. Emergency paid sick leave and expanded Family Medical Leave policies were approved and a temporary COVID-19 leave policy and temporary telecommuting policy adopted.

ü On behalf of Lincoln County Director of Schools Dr. Bill Heath, Newman updated officials on ongoing construction of the new Blanche School and the addition to Lincoln County High School. Both projects are progressing approximately on schedule.

ü Lloyd Steelman, Sam Ezell, Eulas Quick, Lisa Hardiman and Blake Copple were re-elected to the Board of Equalization.

ü Dr. Bill Heath, Dr. Janine Wilson, Mark Clark, Kaye Cowley, Lisa Creson, Brad Luna, Bridgette Jones, Eric Jones, Kate Killebrew, Ron Perrin, Diane Buchanan, Garth Garris and Ben Brown were reappointed to the Education and Workforce Committee.

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