Jonathan Bennett has been named to serve on the Banks County Development Authority. The Banks County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the appointment of Bennett at its meeting Tuesday night. Bennett, a Baldwin resident, will serve out the unexpired term of Stan Stewart, who resigned in August. The term will expire on Feb. 28, 2012.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting:
•the commissioners approved a motion to allow the development authority to proceed with plans to hire an economic development director. DA chairman Jack Banks and DA member Scott Ledford addressed the BOC about the position. Banks advised the BOC that the DA had approved funding the position for one year. Ledford reported no range on the salary has been set at this time. Ledford advised the DA wanted to take a look at the qualifications on the applications/resumes before a salary range is set. City clerk Jenni Gailey said, “It is not uncommon to make the salary contingent upon the qualifications.” Banks also advised this person would be a county employee and the interview process should be a joint process with the DA and the BOC both taking part. The next step is to come up with a job description and begin advertising for the position. Gailey presented the commissioners with some sample job qualification requirements from another county who recently hired an economic development director and planner.
•Melinda Cochran asked the BOC to consider filing an application for a trail grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Cochran, a registered landscape architect with the State of Georgia, advised the board that she is willing to donate her time to work on this. Cochran said she is trained in trail design and she has done some trail designs in the past. The grant is a 20 percent match grant. The county would have to commit to the 20 percent match, but this can be in-kind contributions, Cochran reported. BOC members Ernest Rogers and Charles Turk both voiced their concern about the upkeep of the trails. Cochran said, “A well designed trail requires very little maintenance or upkeep.” Cochran made a suggestion that the county could charge a per horse fee and set this money aside for maintenance/upkeep, if that is a concern. Cochran advised six saddle clubs in surrounding counties would need to be in favor of this project. Newly-elected BOC member Sammy Reece advised the BOC that the saddle club he is involved with would be on board with this and he could get six others on board. Ledford told the BOC that this trail could be tied to economic development. “The trails tie communities together,” Ledford said. The deadline for submitting the application for the grant is Nov. 30. The board agreed to include this on the agenda for the Nov. 9 meeting.
•the commissioners unanimously approved getting the Georgia Forestry Service to cruise the timber on the Windmill Farms and give the county an estimate on the timber price. After this is done the county will put the timber project out for bid.
•the BOC approved the standards for outdoor watering of landscape resolution as approved by the legislature.
•Joe Rutherford, chief executive officer, Avita Community Partners, asked the BOC to nominate someone to fill the county’s vacant seat on their board. Avita provides behavioral health and developmental disability services to Banks County residents. Rutherford reported 220 Banks County citizens were served by the agency during fiscal year 2010. “I want to thank you for the $14,000 in participating dollars that the county contributes. That is roughly $64 per person for the services provided,” Rutherford said.
•the commissioners met in closed session for less than five minutes to discuss litigation. No action was taken.