Under the resolution, the Bartow County Agriculture Building was renamed the Olin Tatum Agricultural Building. Located at 320 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville, the former school houses seven agencies — UGA Cooperative Extension Office, Bartow County 4-H Club, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bartow County Grant Writing, Georgia Department of Veterans Services, American Red Cross and Vietnam Veterans of Bartow County.
Tatum, who passed away in May 2001, was a 30-year county employee and was elected to his first term as commissioner in 1972.
Calling him a champion of farming and agriculture, Brown said Tatum “had something to do with the running of the county government” for the past four decades.
“Olin took office in 1973. He hired Frank Moore, who served as commissioner. He hired me, who served as commissioner, so the people he hired served as commissioner in this office for the past 40 years,” Brown said. “Not only that, he hired a lot of other good people that are still with the county. A lot of them are retired and gone but Lane McMillan, with 38 years, he hired her. He hired Jo Taylor, and Steve Bradley was hired as the tax assessor’s office. There was ... Stephen Burch — another good kid who was hired — and Larry Owens, Sandra Southern. ... I guess you could say he hired the right people.”
Family was on hand to unveil the new sign bearing Tatum’s moniker.
“We just want to express our gratitude to you for this proclamation. Our father had such a passion for Bartow County, and you know, all the years he worked he always said he enjoyed his work, his days working with the county,” said William Tatum, who spoke on behalf of the family. “He loved history and the historical preservation of the buildings in Bartow County and landmarks like the agriculture building. He had a love for the Bartow County soil and the labor of the farmers in the county. He would be so proud.”
Also Wednesday Brown approved a resolution concerning the Metropolitan Planning Organization and a memorandum of understanding with local municipalities.
The county, city of Cartersville and municipal representatives met in October to begin working toward forming the MPO, which will bring local governments, county officials and the Georgia Department of Transportation together to plan and fund road projects. The MPO — which is similar to the Atlanta Regional Commission, but on a smaller scale — will encompass all of Bartow County and include the seven municipalities within it.
“A little background into that — when we crossed the 100,000 population threshold, additionally the Cartersville area had enough population — it was the only one in the state of Georgia — for a new Metropolitan Planning Organization. We have held meetings with all the municipalities. It was deemed that the appropriate way to include us into the metropolitan organization would be the entire county. Only a portion of the county was in the urbanized area, but we felt like all the county should become part of the Metropolitan Planning Organization. And this is for transportation planning, of course,” County Administrator Steve Bradley said.
Brown said the county had been seeking to establish an MPO for years.
“We have looked throughout the state at what ... Floyd County and Dalton, Whitfield County and they got their own [MPO] and, I tell you what, they do much better. For some reason or another, they’ve always seemed to get more money for their roads,” he said. “That’s why I’ve alway ... pushed it since Gov. [Roy] Barnes was the governor, but at the time, Gov. Barnes wouldn’t let us do it.”
The MOU will allow Bartow County Planning and Development to be the planning organization for the MPO.
“We will receive federal highway dollars if any additional staff — and there probably will be — that it pay for that additional staff to do the planning for a new Metropolitan Planning Organization for the entire boundary of Bartow County, and that will help us get some federal dollars here for transportation,” Bradley said.
Forming an MPO is required under federal law once an urbanized area acquires more than 50,000 residents after a census. As Cartersville has approximately 52,477 residents as of the 2010 census, it was required to start laying the groundwork to form an MPO. Although an MPO is based around the urbanized area that hit 50,000 in population, with its boundaries extended to areas where the city is predicted to expand in 20 years, Bartow County and local officials decided to make the county lines the borders for the MPO.
“When that’s done, we will no longer be part of the Atlanta MPO. We’ll still have some coordination with them but this will be our own MPO. We won’t be going 18 or 20 counties down there in that kind of unweildy MPO.”
Once approved by Gov. Nathan Deal next year, the Bartow County MPO will be the 16th in the state.
In other action Wednesday, Brown:
• Approved entering into a contract for 2013 on county employee health insurance. Coverage will remain unchanged through Blue Cross Blue Shield.
• Approved the five-year short-term work program update for the joint city-county comprehensive plan.
Bradley said the county is required to update the outline every five years, which provides the status of projects and goals within the comprehensive plan.
• Ratified an agreement with American Red Cross designating the Clarence Brown Conference Center as an emergency shelter.
• Appointed State Rep. Paul Battles (R-Cartersville) to the Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority. Battles will replace Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor who resigned his position with the JDA ahead of his swearing-in.
• Approved 2013 malt beverage license applications.
• Approved four zoning applications and amendments to the county zoning ordinance.
Wednesday’s meeting was the last scheduled meeting for Brown as commissioner. He hinted after the meeting that there could “possibly” be a called meeting before he passes the torch Jan. 1.
“We’re close on something right now that could trigger another meeting,” Brown said.
The next scheduled commissioner’s meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 2, in the commissioner’s conference room at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center.