TIFTON -- Tift County commissioners heard from a concerned subdivision resident and the distraught brother of a man killed by a drunken driver, both of whom want the commissioners to act swiftly on matters that concern them.
Harold Willis, speaking against a proposed referendum on liquor sales, showed commissioners pictures of the June 19, 1996, car crash that killed his brother Bryan Willis on Lower Brookfield Road, and another DUI-related crash that killed Hal Hilliard.
"This night changed my life forever," Willis said. "Beer is enough. I go to Halftime and I go to Rumors and I don't drink a drop. As far as the referendum goes, I wish you guys would tear it down."
On the agenda for the August 3 workshop session was the controversial referendum. With Willis' statement the only one concerning the issue, the county's public discussion of the issue fell fall short of the round-robin speechmaking they heard at the joint city-county meeting Monday night.
Willis' tear-laden speech was the last public statement that local government leaders will hear officially before the two bodies vote Monday in the county commission's meeting room on whether to put the measure before voters on the November ballot.
In other business, Willie Miles, a representative of the residents of Hunter Creek Subdivision, asked commissioners to place street lights, speed limit signs and a temporary moratorium on building modular homes in the neighborhood.
Miles told commissioners that the covenant between the subdivision's developer, Jimmy Tucker, and its residents needed to be reworked due to the introduction of a modular-built home in the neighborhood.
"This a life-long property investment that we've made with the understanding that our neighborhood would consist of homes that were valued at $76,000 or more and at least 1,500 square feet," Miles said. "I just don't want these modular homes to flood into our backyards."
Miles asked commissioners if they could stop issuing building permits until the covenant issues were settled.
According to County Attorney Rob Reinhardt, that's out of the reach of the county commissioners.
"The commissioners can only place a moratorium on issuing building permits if there are some structural, safety or security concerns," Reinhardt said. "But I would recommend that you and the other citizens speak with Mr. Tucker and ask him to hold off on selling more lots until you get the covenant issue resolved, before you seek legal assistance."
In other business, the commissioners considered the newly-created Clean Air Ordinance, several reappointments, the cost of office furnishings for the public defender offices, raising Environmental Health fees, and authorizing Chairman Buddy Bryan to sign a Verification of Safety Control Compliance in order to receive a 7.5 percent discount on Workman's Compensation insurance premiums.
The commissioners also decided to place the issue of raising the water rate by $5 per 5,000 gallons on the agenda for Monday's meeting.
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