Residents in the Holly Springs Elementary School voting precinct will get a new location to cast their votes next year 

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a contract with The Church at Chapel Hill to use the church as a polling place beginning in 2016. The first election to be held is in March.

According to Douglas County Election Supervisor Laurie Fulton, parking “is extremely limited at the school and when buses are present for arrival and dismissal from school, the voters cannot enter the parking lot or leave if they were already parked.”

She said the church has much greater parking capacity, space to set up voting equipment, will not interfere with church activities and is handicap accessible.

In other action, a public hearing will be set in January to remove “church” from the county ordinance definitions to match state requirements, according to Planning and Zoning Director Tracy Rye.

The Douglas County Planning and Zoning department was given authorization to advertise for an amendment to Article 3 (Alcoholic Beverages) section 3-1 (definitions) and section 3-49 (distance requirements) of the Douglas County Code of Ordinances.

The BOC also cleared several end-of-the-year housekeeping items at their last regular meeting in 2015.

Commissioners approved by consent agenda a Memorandum of  Understanding (MOU) with Ascension Counseling and Mental Health, LLC to provide services for the county’s Felony Drug Court. 

The Felony Drug Court provides the community with an alternative means for addressing non-violent substance dependent and abusing offenders, according to agreement documents. 

By mandated structured treatment under the supervision of the Felony Drug Court, the offender is provided with an opportunity to end the abuse and addiction cycle and become a healthy citizen, the agenda item read.

Under the agreement, Ascension Counseling will provide individual counseling at $46.59 per 60-minute session and $75 for each initial assessment. Group counseling services will be billed at $93.18 per 90-minute session and a monthly administration fee will cost $436.27.

The BOC also approved authorization to amend departmental budgets for training-related expenditures totaling $48,533. According to Jennifer Hallman, county finance director, this is a quarterly adjustment moving funds from general appropriations to individual departments. 

The BOC also approved amending the Douglas Senior Center budget by $15,150 from the county’s contingency funds. Senior Services Director Richard Hagan said that upon looking at the budget, they had several additional line items, mainly for programs at the center.  He also said that because of last year’s excessively cold winter, they had increases in heating/gas bills.

Because fire services/EMS had automotive maintenance and repair expenditures during the year exceeding the budget, the board authorized amending the budget by $180,000. The funding source comes from EMS revenues received in excess of the budget, said Hallman.

The commissioners also approved an invitation to bid for a brush truck for the Douglas County Fire Department.

This item falls under the SPLOST for fire services, explained Douglas County Fire Chief Scott Spencer. The brush truck is a 400 gallon, four-wheel-drive tank truck equipped to go to small brush fires in areas too difficult to get into with a larger truck. 

“It can also go into ice storms,” said Spencer. “It offers more capability than anything we currently have.”

Contact Liz Marino by email at liz@douglascountysentinel.com or by phone at 770-942-6571 ext. 233.

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