Taylor also signs off on grants for infrastructure improvements along Third Army Road
Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor signed off on a litany of agenda items at Wednesday morning’s public meeting, including a supplemental agreement for capital funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Bartow County Transit Director Weldon Dudley said the additional funding exceeds $636,000 and will cover virtually all of the County’s transit service operational costs from January to June.
“Our ridership is down significantly,” Dudley said. “Anytime it’s a rainy day or a stormy day, we’re down close to 80%.”
As are many public services, Dudley said the local transit service has implemented new safety measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We now require all our passengers to wear some type of face mask or at least some type of covering,” he said. “We’re also requiring a temperature check with each passenger … that’s not been an issue for anyone.”
Taylor said ridership fees, which are normally set at $1, have been waived.
“He is providing service to people to get dialysis, [go to] doctor’s appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, for those people that can’t afford to ride,” Taylor remarked. “So right now, it’s a free ride.”
Just two days later, however, the Bartow County Transit Department announced it was suspending services from July 13 to July 17 after four employees tested positive for COVID-19.
"We will evaluate the situation next week as to whether we can partially reopen the following week," a County press release issued Friday reads. "In the meantime, the buses and the transit office are being sanitized."
Taylor similarly signed off on an application to pursue additional funding for the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a pot of money that the Department of Justice has released to expenses for the coronavirus response,” said Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson. “I think it’s about a $63,000 grant.”
Taylor also applied his signature to a $43,000 Family Connection agreement with the Georgia Department of Human Services and a $402,549.19 agreement with the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.
Taylor also approved applications requesting funding for proposed projects under the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP.)
That includes the Allatoona sidewalk project, which seeks to connect Allatoona Elementary to the Allatoona Resource Center along the Glade Road corridor.
“We’re asking for about $850,000 to buy right of way, of which $170,000 is going to be our local match,” said Cartersville-Bartow County Metropolitan Transportation Organization Planner Tom Sills.
He said the County is also requesting an additional $500,000 for preliminary engineering on another sidewalk project, which would include a $100,000 local match.
“We’re looking at developing a sidewalk along State Route 293 at Cassville Road that would extend north from the intersection with Grassdale Road, past the Dollar General, on up to Patterson Drive,” he said.
Taylor also approved the purchasing of property along Kingston Highway.
The proposed project, Olson said, would eliminate a nearby four-way stop.
“We’re going to get the developer to contribute to some of the costs, because it’s going to reduce his entrance costs,” he said, “and it will provide a better entrance to the park and better traffic flow through there.”
An item transferring LakePoint Parkway from Bartow County to the City of Emerson also received Taylor’s approval.
“The LakePoint Parkway project was funded by [the Georgia Department of Transportation] and it was in our name, we were the recipient of that grant,” Olson said. “But now that the project’s done, it’s within the city limits of Emerson and so it’s more correctly going to be their road.”
Taylor also approved a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loan modification, which would give the local water department a “payment holiday” from July to January.
“Due to the impacts of COVID-19, GEFA has decided to offer some borrower’s relief for the funds that we’re paying, and what this amounts to for the water system is $72,000-some-odd per month,” said Bartow County Water Department Director Lamont Kiser.
The six months of deferred payments and interest, he said, will save the County government about $436,000.
Taylor also approved a contract with Willow Construction, in the amount of $893,700, for a Mission Road Sewer Pump Station project. He also inked an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Emerson pertaining to its wastewater treatment system.
“We have an opportunity to open up sewer service on the south end of the county, I’m calling it the ‘Pumpkinvine basin,’” Kiser said. “This agreement will authorize us to discharge sewer into their plant for them to treat it for us.”
The agreement, Kiser said, comes in anticipation of future economic developments within the area.
Also approved were several fire department-related expenditures. That includes an $80,742 contract with Momon Construction for Fire Station No. 10 renovations and a $105,300 contract with Industrial Door and Dock, LLC for the installation of new bay doors at Fire Station No. 1.
Momon also received a contract for $89,890 for Fire Station No. 1 kitchen renovations.
“We’ve got a federal grant for more personnel at Fire Station No. 1 last year, so we now have six crew personnel and a lot more administrative staff than what we had when that station was built,” said Bartow County Fire Chief Dwayne Jamison.
The public meeting concluded with Taylor signing off on two applications for funding intended for Third Army Road sewer and infrastructure improvements. Bartow County Grant Writing Department Director Valerie Gilreath said those investments in road and sewer are being made as plans for a number of large-scale economic developments begin taking shape in southern Bartow.
The first was a request for a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA.)
“The EDA grant is a total budget of $4,906,188,” Gilreath said. “We’re requesting 80% of that from the EDA, which is $3,924,950.”
That, she said, would leave the County government with a roughly $1 million match.
The other grant application seeks $600,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission. If approved, Gilreath said the funding would be used as part of the local match for the EDA grant.
“Most of the rest of the match will come as private investment from the developer,” she said.
Other items approved by Taylor at Wednesday morning’s meeting include:
— The donation of a surplus transit vehicle to Woodwright Industries. “They had some State vehicles that are 15 or more years old, really in bad shape,” Olson said. “We had an opportunity to surplus one of ours … it’s a used vehicle, but it’s in a lot better shape than what they have.”
— The “updating” and “standardizing” of agreements with onsite residents at Gatewood Park, Pine Acres Resort, Camp Cherokee and the Corra Harris property. “Some of them haven’t been renewed in quite some time,” Olson said. “Some of the folks have been in the same position there for many, many years, so it just kind of modernized those agreements.”
— A contract with Momon Construction, in the amount of $43,400, for exterior painting and associated repairs at the Rose Lawn Museum. “It requires a lot of maintenance as an old Victorian home,” Olson said. “It hasn’t been repainted in several years and it’s going to get repainted, and it’s also got various wood rot and other issues.”
— A text amendment pertaining to the County’s R-7 zoning districts. “There is no vacant R-7 land in the county, so whenever somebody wants to submit a rezoning application moving forward, they would need to, with their site plan, list the proposed density and the water and sewer letter would need to be covered with that,” said Bartow County Zoning Administrator Richard Osborne.
— A request from IDI Logistics to “downzone” a parcel along Old River Road and Highway 293 from M-1 mining to I-1 industrial.
— A request from Transwestern Development Co. to rezone more than 30 acres along Peeples Valley Road from A-1 agricultural to I-1 industrial.
— A request from Panattoni Development Co. Atlanta, LLC (PDC) to rezone a roughly 2.8-acre parcel near Third Army Road from A-1 agricultural to I-1 industrial. PDC representative Dayne Pryor said the intent is to combine the rezoned tract with a 40-acre parcel to the south for the proposed “Project Pony Express” development
. “This is our sixth project in Bartow County,” he said. “This parcel will give us additional access to Highway 293 and kind of spread the traffic out between Third Army going north and south and then Highway 293, east and west.”