TIFTON -- Tift County Commissioners tabled the issue of whether or not to pay legal defense fees for Darrell Wiggins, director of the county's Community Development office.

Wiggins had requested in a letter that the county pay the $6,305.35 bill he had incurred since GBI and local agents acted on a search warrant Aug. 30 and removed boxes of records from the office he oversees.

"This is an ongoing process and I don't think we should take lead action on this at this point," Chairman Buddy Bryan said.

County attorney Rob Reinhardt reported that he had been unable to gather information from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or District Attorney Paul Bowden.

Commissioner Donnie Hester said he had been receiving "lots of calls" from citizens.

"People want to know if we are going to pay for this," Hester said.

In other action, commissioners:

Voted to pay $7,531.88 to Robert and Co. in excess of the billing limit of $27,575. The excess cost was incurred when engineers were asked to change designs in Phase I of the Water System Distribution Study to accommodate industrial users.

Approved Phase I of the Water Expansion Project as presented by Robert and Co.

* Opened and accepted high bids on three county-owned lots declared surplus. Jim Lawson's bid of $3,510 for a lot at 2707 Brunswick Ave., Jadar Enterprises's bid of $4,900 for a lot at Hill Avenue and U.S. Hwy. 41 South and Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Pettiford's bid for $6,000 were accepted.

Voted to authorize county staff to clear property located at the corner of South Central Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive if landowners do not comply with orders to clear the property within 60 days of Oct. 17. The action represents the first case relating to the Tift County Environmental Ordinance heard by Magistrate Judge Doug Jones.

Accepted Dan Richardson's right-of-way deed for streets in Taylor Ridge Estates subdivision contingent upon Richardson meeting the requirement that grassing on the parcels be completed.

Appointed a committee of E-911 Assistant Director Mary Ann Eaton, Capt. Jeff Flynt and Bryan to meet with the mayors of Omega and Ty Ty to develop a plan for eliminating duplicate street and road names within the county. Eaton told commissioners last week that duplicate names pose a critical problem for dispatchers and the emergency personnel they deploy.

Voted not to participate in the Georgia Community Greenspace Program until they could gather more information.

Approved the redistricting map for county commissioners and board of education representatives.

Approved the repair of Upper Ty Ty Road, Zion Hope Road and Ray Taylor Road using funds from the budgeted capital improvement budget.

Appointed Melinda Phillips and Jason Hoffman to provide indigent defense counsel for state and juvenile court cases at an annual cost of $21,000 each.

To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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