Coweta to fund transportation, meals at center
by Sarah Fay Campbell
If the federal government doesn't reopen by Nov. 7, Coweta County will be stepping in to continue funding for senior citizen transportation and meals at the Tommy Thompson Senior Center.
The commissioners voted Tuesday night to provide the funding, if need be, at the Tommy Thompson Senior Center on Hospital Road in Newnan.
The transportation issue relates to vouchers for the county's transit system that are purchased by the Georgia Department of Human Services to provide transportation for elderly individuals to aging services. Funding for those vouchers will cease on Nov. 7, said Assistant County Administrator Kelly Mickle.
Funding for the meals, which are served at the senior center and also delivered to some seniors who cannot come to the center, would cease on Nov. 14, Mickle said.
"What can we do? This is very important," said Commissioner Paul Poole.
As of Wednesday evening, House and Senate leaders in Washington, D.C., had agreed on a compromise to reopen the government through January, and to raise the debt ceiling. The agreement was expected to be voted on Wednesday night.
Both of the local projects are funded by a combination of state, federal and local dollars, Mickle said. "There's the option that we use local dollars" to continue to fund the programs until the federal funds are restored, she said.
Poole asked if everything could be done with no gaps.
The county is reimbursed by the federal government for the meals, so that won't be a problem. Mickle said she would "have to check into the details" of how the transit process would work.
In other meeting business:
• The commissioners approved a special use permit for special events for property at 360 Palmetto Tyrone Road, owned by Jason Lee. Unlike previous rezonings for special events, there were no residents speaking against the application.
The Lees will be constructing permanent, separate bathroom facilities, with a new septic system. Engineer Neal Spradlin said they had hoped to use portable toilets, of the trailer variety, but were told by Coweta County Environmental Health Director David Burnham that "that wasn't going to be an option."
Commissioner Rodney Brooks asked why, as he has seen many events that use portable toilets.
Spradlin said he thinks Burnham was seeing the events center "as sort of a commercial type thing" and that allowing only portable toilets would be setting a precedent.
• The board executed a proclamation designating Nov. 2013 as Epilepsy Awareness Month.
"Bringing awareness to epilepsy is very difficult," said Lisa Millard Webster. "What you are doing for us is wonderful."
• The board approved a new policy that will allow administrative approval of variance requests for alternative septic systems. Previously, all such requests had to come before the commissioners, and a public hearing was required. The new policy sets several criteria that must be met for an administrative variance to be approved.
• At the request of Commissioner Tim Lassetter, the board delayed consideration of a request for vested rights for the Moreland Oaks subdivision.
• The board approved upcoming road closures around Coweta for filming of "The Walking Dead."
• The board voted to approve the use of the 1904 Courthouse steps for a candlelight vigil for the Coweta County Domestic Violence Task Force. The vigil is set for Oct. 22 at 6 p.m., pending approval by Coweta's event management staff.