Highlights of August 18, 2013 Meeting

Meeting topic was the Firewise Community Program, presented by Mark Wiles, Wildfire Prevention Specialist from the Georgia Forestry Commission.  Specialist Wiles introduced Chief Ranger Gary Roberts, and Gary White, project manager for the Georgia Forestry Commission.  Specialist Wiles led the program centered on the national Firewise Community Program which strives to educate property owners on the proper method for making their property fire safe in the event of a destructive wildfire.   This program has been adopted in Georgia and many communities have become certified. Specialist Wiles described the home ignition zone and the need to provide a buffer between your home and combustible material, removal of limbs, clutter and vegetation.  He advised the importance of having an accessible driveway for fire equipment, having easily identifiable house numbers at the end of driveways, and burn permits.  The Firewise program is established to teach a homeowner and their neighborhood community wildfire risks, mitigation information for their specific neighborhood, and the identification and implementation of solutions to these risks.  Specialist Wiles volunteered to visit with anyone desiring further information on the program

‚Äč.County commissioner Bill Myers gave a brief update on the tax bills and the 2014 budget.  He advised indications are a millage rate increase will be necessary due to mandatory health insurance requirements and to consider a raise to county employees who have not had an increase in base salary in 7 years.  He said fire station 9 is nearly built and they are working to build more fire stations and to establish 2 new EMC units.President Hamilton explained his objections to the loose wording of the SPLOST Fund referendum for the next 5 years to be included in the November election ballot.  The current wording does not prioritize projects for the estimated 18 million dollars SPLOST revenue.  He advised that the HCPOA position is to encourage our citizens to remain involved in the charter school system development and be knowledgeable about SPLOST.