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Commission downplays concern over solar farms

The Lamar County commission heard from a concerned citizen regarding solar installations it has approved for sites on McCollum and Yatesville roads at its regular meeting Oct. 16. Melissa Cline, admitting her information came from a social media gossip site where information is not verified, had heard solar panels could pose a danger to ground water. She wanted to know if the commissioners had done their own research prior to approving the installations or had relied on research from those promoting the idea. Chairman Charles Glass responded he had done his own digging and contacted a professor at the University of Georgia who is an acknowledged expert in the area of solar energy. ‘He assured me that these panels are benign and pose no environmental risk,’ Glass said. Sean Ross had asked to be put on the agenda to discuss solar panels but did not show up for the meeting. In a related development, Will Ingram of 798 Hwy. 36 West contacted the sheriff’s office Oct. 12 to report 24 signs in his yard protesting one of the solar installations had been torn down. Cline told the commission she would return to social media to try to allay unfounded fears regarding groundwater contamination. In other business, the commission: ’¢Amended its LMIG resurfacing list to include Crane, Cannafax, Adkins and Van Buren roads. The portion of Cannafax from Berry Road to Williams Road is targeted for repaving while the section of Van Buren from Crawford Road to Johnstonville Road is on the priority list. The estimated cost is $443,993.22 with LMIG funds expected to cover $394,609.37, leaving a balance of $49,383.85 the county will pull from SPLOST funds. ’¢Approved the rezoning of 2 acres on Ennis Road from AR to R-4. The owner, David Johnson, is moving an Aldora Village house to the lot for his daughter. He owns nine additional acres there. ’¢Agreed to a change in how the three counties in the Towaliga Judicial Circuit are assessed for meeting the circuit’s budget. The cost will be based on a rolling average of case loads to be phased in over a three-year period. ’¢Tabled an intergovernmental agreement with Butts County regarding an industrial site near I-75 that spans both counties. Chairman Glass suggested each county refer the matter to their respective IDAs to work out some issues. ’¢Approved a revised ordinance on soil erosion, sedimentation and pollution. ’¢Agreed to a new rental schedule for the senior center. The rate will bump up to $500 for the first two hours then $25 per each additional hour. ’¢Approved the records retention policy manual that was created with the help of an intern over the summer. The intern was paid for with grant monies.

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