EMA provides county commission update on Buck's Pocket State Park

Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Michael Posey provided the DeKalb County Commission with a brief update on things going on in the county during Tuesday’s meeting.

Posey said Buck’s Pocket State Park superintendent reached out to them to help coordinate the development of a measure that would help notify visitors when heavy rains are possible to prevent anyone from getting stranded in the park.

Volunteers working at the park were recently temporarily stranded at the campground site due to rains that came through the area earlier this month.

Posey said they were trapped in the campground with water on both sides of them. He said when rainfall comes unexpectedly, and it usually floods the area very quickly. However, it also recedes at a steady pace.

“In an effort to try to mediate some of that and provide some extra warning, we are utilizing the mass notification system that the county purchased,” he said.

Posey said they are currently in the process of beta testing the mass notification system with the National Weather Service in hopes of warning about the potential for flash flooding in Buck's Pocket.

He said it would also give park officials time to close the gates to prevent people from getting across the bridge that results in some of the issues they have dealt with in the last couple of years.

The Buck’s Pocket State Park is reopening its campground and unveiling a new off-road vehicle trail on Monday, June 15, at 1 p.m.

– Editor’s note: An in-depth story is being developed by staff writer Cinthia Rico and will appear in an upcoming edition of the Times-Journal.

Posey provided updated numbers and cases accurate as of Tuesday related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the county and state.

He also stressed the continued hard work of multiple agencies collaborating and the preventive measures taken by long-care facilities in the area.

District I Commissioner Shane Wootten said it’s important for the public to understand and hear from officials and for them to know they have people here locally working and keeping an eye on things, whether it's coronavirus or any other emergency situation that comes up.

“Especially with the COVID-19 situation, people need to be very cautious and very careful. Think ahead, be reasonable, be safe and take care of yourselves,” said District III Commissioner Chris Kuykendall.

In regards to the coronavirus, Kuykendall said it's something we will learn to live with and learn to thrive with.

Commission President Ricky Harcrow, along with Kuykendall and Wootten, expressed their appreciation for the EMA organization as well as all those partnering with them who are working together for the county.

The commission also:

• approved to promote Danny Norris to District 3 Crew Leader to replace Danny Hood, Williams Childress to District 2 Crew Leader to replace Kerry Duncan (both effective June 1) and approved to hire Christopher Williams to fill the vacancy in District 3 for the road department.

• approved the following Sheriff’s Office personnel: hire Carl White as a transport deputy to replace Stephen Berry (retroactive June 1), hire Josh Wigley as a full-time SRO for the DeKalb County Technology Center (effective July 27), hire John Seals as a full-time SRO at Sylvania High School to replace Billy Jack Blackwell who retired (effective July 27).

• accepted the resignation of Lyndell Elkins and the termination of Wrett Tyson from the county jail. Approved to hire Steven Jackson to replace Lyndell Elkins, Samuel McAlpin as Correction Officer position vacated by Sara Slaton’s promotion to Sergeant, Anthony Ciganek to replace Wrett Tyson.

• approved to send David Davis and Priscilla Padgett to investigator training.

• approved the purchase of recorder state bid at $21,800 for dispatch.

• accepted the retirement of Deb Steward as Chief Mapper. Promoted Brittany Crowe to Chief Mapper from Mapper 2 and Jacey Palmer to reapprecial position.

District III Commissioner Kuykendall thanked Steward for her years of service stating she did a fine job as Chief Mapper.

• approved the yearly Garbage Exemptions.

• approved the 2020 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday that's set for July 17-19.

• approved to award the County 51 bid (Rebuild Act annual grant) to Wiregrass Construction Company at $206,254.71.

• approved the Merida Agreement to provide labor, equipment and materials to reclaim and base 785 feet of the road on the Sylvania MOA Industrial Road Project, will all the combined work not to exceed $10,000.

• approved the Speed Limit Resolutions for County Road 676 set at 25 mph in the High Point Community and County Road 613, that leads to DeSoto Falls set at 25 mph.

• approved the request to vacate County Road 628 petitioned by the property owner.

Harcrow announced they could be back on their regular schedule meeting in July with all the commission members' full presence.

Present during Tuesday's meeting were DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow, District I Commission member Shane Wootten, District III Commission member Chris Kuykendall, County Administrator Matt Sharp and County Attorney.

The next commission meeting is set for July 14, 2020.

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